The return of TSB

Posted by Ian Carpenter in Banking on 10 September 2013 - Ian is Operations Director at checkmyfile

High streets up and down the country will see the return of TSB branches this week.

600 branches of Lloyds TSB will be re-branded as TSB to mark the first key stage of a new independent banks being created. Lloyds Banking Group agreed to sell the branches as part of deal which saw the government bail-out Britain’s largest personal bank account provider in 2008 in line with a process ordered by the European Commission.

Five million customers are being switched across and are being assured that bank account numbers and sort codes will remain the same. Cards will be re-branded over time but will continue to work as normal.

The bank will run as a separate entity from Lloyds for the time being and will be sold off entirely by next year. It is hoped that the creation of a new, independent bank will help to stimulate more competition in a market heavily dominated by five key players – Lloyds, RBS, Barclays, HSBC and Santander.

Greater competition in the banking industry is often mooted, with recent contenders including Virgin and Metrobank, but rarely transpires. It will difficult for TSB to separate itself from the recent transgressions of its competitors. Many will also argue that intense competition within the market fuelled the PPI and Libor scandals rather than creating better value for customers.

Whichever organisations buys TSB will be purchasing a bank that is starting from a clean slate and will have no PPI compensation claims looming for the next few years – something that the big five will be particularly envious about, assuming no further PR disasters over the next year or so.

TSB is not off to a good start. On its first day it suffered a bank raid at one of its branches, and its systems crashed.

But the banking industry needs a boost and if TSB can offer anything different and help to improve the reputation of the sector it could be an inspired move by the government. Millions of consumers are still struggling to the get the credit they need and it will be interesting to see if TSB is still “the bank that likes to say yes”.

Ian Carpenter is Operations Director at checkmyfile, has a degree in Business Studies, and is a Graduate Member of the Institute of Credit Management. He can be contacted at ian.carpenter@checkmyfile.com

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