HBOS reneges on leaflet clarification pledge

Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) has rejected government recommendations to alter a leaflet promoting one of its current accounts, claiming it is already “clear and transparent.”

The leaflet, promoting the Bank of Scotland current account, was singled out in the recent Commons Treasury Select Committee report into the banking and financial sector. It was cited as an example of confusing promotional material, as the committee called on banks to revise their marketing material to make it more comprehensible to customers.

HBOS chief executive James Crosby agreed to review the leaflet and make the necessary amendments. But a company spokesman has revealed to Marketing Week that no changes will be made.

He says: “Our retail division has reviewed the material and we feel it is clear and transparent, so it is not necessary to make any changes.”

The committee’s main concern was that interest rates are not published on the leaflet. The report states: “If the minimum monthly level of payments into the account is not met, balances earn a lower interest rate, and incur higher overdraft interest rates than advertised. The different interest rates applied were not disclosed in the leaflet.”

The HBOS spokesman claims interest rates are readily available to the public through advertising campaigns and in branches. He says: “They can’t walk into a branch without being bombarded with information. Rates are changing all the time, so rather than reprinting a leaflet every time that happens, we remain flexible by promoting rates in other ways.”

Abbey National and National Australia Bank had also agreed to revise their promotional material.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here