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BLOG: TSB – the new ‘local’ bank?

Tahmina Mannan
Written By:
Tahmina Mannan
Posted:
Updated:
10/12/2014

New ‘challenger bank’ TSB is labelling itself the local bank, but will it do what it says on the tin?

Those of you old enough to remember 18 years ago may have noticed a familiar name has re-appeared on the High Street.

In fact most of you will soon notice, if you haven’t already, advertising for TSB, the new ‘challenger bank’ to hit the current market.

The accounts of millions of Lloyds customers have now been transferred to the new stand-alone bank.

While it may now be a bank in its own right, it is still shackled to Lloyds Banking Group until a planned flotation at some point next summer.

TSB has reinvented itself as the ‘local bank’. It has gone out of its way to say it will only have local customers and local borrowers.

Sounds great.

It means customers going into their local branch might actually get the ‘local’ touch they need, be greeted with a familiar face that understands their borrowing needs and that actually has an insight into the local economy.

But hang, don’t get too carried away. The truth is, ‘local’ won’t really mean ‘local’.

At TSB’s media reception this week, the bank’s chief executive Paul Pester made it clear that although TSB will model itself as the ‘local bank’ that cares, it will in practice not be able to hand over the decision-making reins to local branch managers.

All loan decisions will be made by a team somewhere in Scotland, with branch managers in no position to be able to override the final say, regardless of how much they may know better.

It seems ‘local’ now has a new meaning.

Tahmina Mannan is a reporter at Your Money