Co-op Bank readies major brand push to highlight values

The Co-operative Bank is to launch a major brand campaign to highlight its ethical values as it looks to rebuild some of the trust lost in the wake of its financial problems and drugs scandal involving its former chairman. 

Co-op Bank
Co-op Bank will continue efforts to rebuild trust in wake of financial problems and staff scandals by launching a brand campaign.

The bank is continuing to count the cost of the negative publicity around the exposure of a £1.5bn capital shortfall that pushed it to the point of collapse and the arrest of its chairman Paul Flowers on drugs related charges last year, the company says in a statement announcing its first-half results.  

“Customer liabilities have been adversely impacted by past negative media coverage of the Bank and the Co-operative Group with whom we share our brand”, it adds. 

The bank had a net loss of 28,199 current accounts in the six months to 31 June, the company says, about 2 per cent of those it had at the start of the year. This at a time when firms such as Nationwide Building Society that position as ethical alternatives to the high street giants have enjoyed considerable success. 

Since the recapitalisation of the bank, which saw the Co-op Group’s ownership reduce by about 20 per cent and majority control passed to bondholders, the bank has set about trying to recapture lost trust, launching a review that canvassed the opinions of customers on its values and ethics. 

The findings of the review will underpin an autumn marketing campaign “which builds on the bank’s brand positioning”, the company adds in the statement.

Co-operative Bank’s standing among prospective and existing customers has recovered this year, according to YouGov’s BrandIndex. Its Buzz score – the net balance of the positive or negative people hear about a brand, currently stands at -4.2, up from -11.3 six months ago, an increase classed as “statistically significant” by YouGov.

The bank cut its losses in the period. Job cuts and branch closures meant losses narrowed to £75.8m in the period, compared with £844.6m in the same period last year.