5m First Direct is up for review

First Direct, Midland Bank’s telephone banking subsidiary, is reviewing its 5m account out of Chiat/Day.

The bank has shortlisted WCRS, Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters and Simons Palmer Denton Clemmow & Johnson. Chiat/Day has not been asked to repitch but its grip on the 13.3m (Register-MEAL) Midland Bank account is thought to be secure.

Recent industry speculation that Chiat/Day’s hold on the business had been confirmed after conversations with First Direct’s commercial director Peter Simpson appears to be unfounded.

The three agencies will pitch in September and the winner will produce a TV advertising campaign for the new year.

Chiat/Day has handled the account for the past four years and produced a variety of press and TV advertising. The account was previously held by HHCL & Partners, which ran an esoteric campaign featuring buckets of fish and empty milk bottles.

“First Direct is a very sexy advertising account and many agencies would like to have us on their books,” says a First Direct spokesman. Though he denies that there are plans to hold a pitch in September he adds: “We will continue to talk to agencies.”

First Direct claims that it is attracting 10,000 new customers a month and is aiming for 1 million account holders by the end of the century.