B is a fresh digital banking service fusing a current and savings account via an easy to use app to manage. This brand was launched in 2016 and is the workings of CYBG Plc that is made up of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank. B is briefly noted on each site, but they then redirect over to www.youandb.co.uk. This boasts a catchy and vibrant design built by Market Gravity who have worked with such brands as Argos, Barclays, Boots and Visa. B’s approach is to target the tech-savvy generation of banking customers. The current pays 0.25% up to £2000 whilst savings extends to 0.75%. There is a 2 working day grace period on overdrafts when overdrawn that is a nice touch.
The Clydesdale Bank was formed in Glasgow in the year 1838. They have over their history been the smallest of the big 3 Scottish Banks (RBS and BOS being the others). Their sister brand (Yorkshire) sits on their banking licence. Yorkshire is much more popular, but this is understandable considering the popularity gulf between England and Scotland. On the web they are identified as CBOnline whereas their partner in crime opts for YBOnline. Both brands have come together as CYBG Plc since the split from NAB. The main difference between the pair is seen in retail, but the products across each are matched. There was 120 branches here, but there has the recent announcement of 40 closures.
The Co-operative Bank has endured troubling times since the financial crisis hit. With heavy loses ever since it wasn’t a huge surprise to hear of the announcement of a proposed sale in February 2017. So far it appears that Santander, TSB and Virgin are the likely candidates for the acquisition. Co-op’s banking division is rooted to 1872, whilst the Group heads back to 1844. Consumer cooperatives are enterprises owned by consumers and this is the largest with 4.35 million active members. They have had upwards of 4500 locations, but there has been closures. Most people are familiar with their convenient local food stores that makes up 2500. As for banking, they had 324 branches, but now have around 95 left.
Famed as the world’s 3rd largest retailer by profit and the UK’s market leading supermarket chain with a 28% share. Sainsbury’s have 16.5% and Asda sit just below 16%. Asda have not adapted well to the web with no banking division unlike the 2 big hitters. Tesco’s history in retail takes us to 1919. The banking operation was established in partnership with RBS in 1997 (in contrast to J Sainsbury using BOS). The full stake has since been acquired. As expected, they are trading very successfully and now have 7.8 million customers. A range of products are pitched that score well on quality, although they haven’t been quite as ruthless in the pricing wars as their supermarket rival.
Established in 1836 as the Ulster Banking Company and later acquired by the Westminster Bank in 1917 (who would become NatWest). This connects the dots with the RBS Group. Ulster’s customer base stands at around 1.9 million. The Group’s complete customer base is headed as 14 million (they have lost a fair few over the years). The UK is targeted through www.ulsterbank.co.uk and then they have UlsterBank.ie. Their branch network has been struggling recently. There had been 64 branches in NI, but there are 9 closing. The ROI tally was 110, but we have again seen a noted cut (22). The branches across both parts of Ireland are clearly suffering from footfall in this modern digital era.
First Direct was established in 1989 by the Midland Bank who were later acquired by HSBC in 1992. This project has been a successful venture for the banking giant over the years, famed for their top class customer service and tempting offers. There are now 1.35 million customers using the service. This is a web-only venture although you can still take advantage of HSBC’s network. There is an attractive switching bonus with the 1st Account. This is paid as a top-up of £100 after 3 months assuming that you have paid in £1000 over the period. This account includes a £250 interest-free overdraft. If you choose to leave after 6 months then a £100 goodbye bonus will be provided.
Bank of Scotland was established in 1695 (making them one of the UK’s oldest). BOS as they are often known is today part of the Lloyds Banking Group Plc. The Lloyds deal went through in 2009. Halifax (who are much larger) operates as a subsidiary. The number of banking branches had come in at just under 300, but there have been closures (23 recent and more may follow). Their entire network is based up north, but they do open up their products to the entire UK. It was common to see less competitive deals here, but from checking on their loan just now this had the same 3.6% rate as the core brand (Halifax’s was 3.5% though).
The M&S Bank name was rolled out in 2012, but they have used a few other trading names starting with St Michael Financial Services in 1985. Marks & Spencer’s retail history heads back to 1884 where they made their name in clothing. They had been the market leader before being edged out by Next. Luxury food has become an increasingly popular market served. As far as banking products go, these are taken on by HSBC who acquired in 2004. The retailer does however receive a share of the profits as part of the deal. There are 29 trendy banking branches that are built within the high street stores. You may be familiar with HSBC’s First Direct (another popular project).
Officially TSB Bank Plc, but they are branded under the single name. The abbreviation is of Trustee Savings Bank who have roots that take us back to 1810. Most people are familiar with TSB’s name through the past affiliation with Lloyds who they merged with in 1995. There has of course now been a split with TSB’s fresh start running ahead in 2013. They are today under the control of Spain’s Banco de Sabadell S.A who were no doubt inspired by Santander’s local success. Starting over wasn’t too tricky since they took with them their branch network and sizeable customer base. There are now 4.6 million customers. There was 631 branches, but 580 is the latest count through downsizing.
Both Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank are now operating on their own terms under CYBG Plc after the recent demerge from Australia’s NAB. Yorkshire’s history takes us back to 1859. Colonel Edward Akroyd got under way with the West Riding Penny Savings Bank. The name change went through when they celebrated their 100th year in operation (1959). They currently note 182 branches, although there has been 39 announced closures. The identify of YBOnline is used on the web and they operate on Clydesdale’s licence, but they are much more popular than their Scottish counterpart. The products across each are matched. The 3rd project in the line is B at www.youandb.co.uk. This is a new current and savings account controlled by app.