Simon Read: TSB's 'fairytale' local image comes under fire

  • @simonnread

When the TSB reappeared late last year following the collapse of Co-op's planned takeover of 600 or so former Lloyds branches, the new bank set to work to create a fresh, popular image.

It commissioned a touching, animated story of its origins as a savings bank and promised "a return to local banking". But the whole story was this week criticised as being a "fairytale".

Joel Benjamin of Move Your Money said: "There is just one problem with the TSB marketing campaign – it is complete fiction."

He is angry that TSB promotes the idea it lends locally when loan decisions are made through head office.

"There is no bank-lending data backing up their local-banking claims. It says that it's fuelling local communities, but that's false," he said.

Tony Greenham, head of finance at the New Economics Foundation, agreed: "If you ask an American, German, Swiss or Japanese what a local bank is, they will tell you it is one that only serves a particular local area or region. Only in the UK, it seems, is it permissible to call a national bank a local bank, which is a misleading description."

Mr Benjamin has complained to the Financial Conduct Authority and the Advertising Standards Authority about his concerns that the TSB campaign is misleading and says "we'll wait to see what, if any, action is taken".

Do you think the TSB is right to label itself a "local bank"? If you think the idea of local banking is important check where banks are scored according to their honesty, customer service, culture, support for the economy and ethics.

Twitter: @simonnread