HSBC dismisses rebrand to Midland or First Direct, instead adding ‘UK’ to name

The HSBC brand will not be disappearing from the high street any time soon as the bank opts to make a small change to its name, adding “UK” to the retail bank brand, rather than going for a more drastic rebrand by reviving Midland or taking its online brand First Direct offline.

HSBC revealed in June that it was looking to change the name of its branch network in preparation for industry reforms that would see its high street banks separated from its global operations. Speculation at the time suggested that it could opt for a bold rebrand.

In the end, however, HSBC went for a less drastic option.

“It soon became obvious that everyone preferred a name that maintains a strong connection to HSBC and a clear commitment to the UK,” says chief executive Stuart Gulliver.

“Our ambition is to be the bank of choice in the UK and as a name, HSBC UK will build on the global connectivity and customer trust of the HSBC brand and differentiate us in a competitive market.”

The decision to rebrand was met with surprise at the time despite poor consumer perceptions of the brand. According to YouGov’s BrandIndex HSBC sits at or near the bottom of a list of 28 high street banking brands across a range of metrics, ahead of only Royal Bank of Scotland.

It has come under attack from various directions, including over allegations that its Swiss arm helped wealthy clients evade tax, and was hit by multimillion pound fines for mis-selling retail products and Libor rate-fixing.

Nevertheless HSBC has invested heavily in marketing to rebuild the brand. HSBC was also seen as having a stronger brand than Midland, which disappeared from the high street more than 20 years ago and was unlikely to resonate with anyone under the age of 30.

It remains unclear whether the HSBC logo will remain the same. The new name will be rolled out across the UK from 2018.

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 3711 or email

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