Much has been made of HSBC’s decision to shift the HQ of its newly-ringfenced retail bank to Birmingham, and speculation has been mounting over how it plans to brand the new business.
Many had suggested that Midland Bank, which HSBC acquired in 1992 could be making a return to the High Street. In the end it seems the bank’s management decided against anything quite so bold.
‘It soon became obvious that everyone preferred a name that maintains a strong connection to HSBC, and a clear commitment to the UK,’ chief executive Stuart Gulliver said in a memo to staff. So after months of indecision they’ve decided to go with ‘HSBC UK’. MT wonders how much they spent on branding consultants to come up with that one.
The name itself isn’t totally ridiculous of course. While the HSBC brand has been damaged by its recent Swiss tax scandal, it’s not the most reviled name in the industry (here’s looking at you RBS) and obviously enjoys greater name recognition than Midland Bank.
But such a minor change doesn’t really warrant the fanfare that the bank’s internal comms team seems to have afforded it. ‘As a name, HSBC UK will build on the global connectivity and customer trust of the HSBC brand and differentiate us in a competitive market,’ Gulliver said in the memo. Sure OK…