Bradford & Bingley in radical overhaul

High street bank Bradford & Bingley (B&B) is gearing itself up for a major relaunch next year, backed by a multi-million pound advertising campaign.

High street bank Bradford & Bingley (B&B) is gearing itself up for a major relaunch next year, backed by a multi-million pound advertising campaign.

B&B’s 600 branches are to be redesigned to offer a radically simplified modern retail environment, after pilot branches in St Albans, Guildford, Rochdale and Stockport were well received. The new, more retail-oriented environment allows consumers to do their banking using advanced computer screens.

The relaunch comes amid continued takeover speculation about B&B in the City. It also follows a strategy review instigated by chief executive Steven Crawshaw, who joined in March, replacing Christopher Rodrigues. Under Crawshaw, the bank is reversing Rodrigues’ strategy of becoming a specialist mortgage and wealth advisory company, and returning to basic banking services.

In August, B&B revealed it was scrapping The MarketPlace, its in-store sub-brand offering independent financial advice. It was launched in 2001, backed with a £10m marketing budget including a television campaign by B&B’s advertising agency M&C Saatchi, featuring glamorous women in B&B’s trademark bowler hats as the “advice squad”.

Some of B&B’s financial advisers have now been transferred to Legal & General. They will sell L&G products but be based in B&B’s branches.B&B group marketing director Mark Howe will oversee the relaunch marketing campaign. The bank uses Starcom Motive for its media planning and buying.

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