No expense expended on a new British brand for HSBC


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The Independent Online

There has not been a lot to laugh about in banking of late, but perhaps that’s changing with HSBC’s decision on a shiny new brand for its UK arm.

The rebrand was set in train by chief executive Stuart Gulliver. He argued that regulations forcing him to ring-fence his UK retail operations would also require him to find a new name to differentiate them from their prestigious parent.

After a song and dance about consultation with customers, and amid hints that the old Midland bank could be revived, the newly differentiated business will trade under the name of, erm, HSBC UK.

Apparently those two extra letters will help the bank to  “build on the global connectivity and customer trust of the HSBC brand and differentiate us in a competitive market”. Not to mention saving several million pounds on branding and advertising agencies.

Needless to say, you’re not likely to see any similar silliness on the part of, say, Barclays. Its still planning to call its UK retail bank Barclays.

But all this fuss and nonsense was never really about the brand. It was about sending a message to the Chancellor, who appears to have heeded it by watering down his much-vaunted banking levy. To such an extent that it too could do with a bit of a rebrand.

Perhaps HSBC UK could help with that?