Halifax (United Kingdom bank)

Halifax (United Kingdom bank)

Infobox Company
company_name = Halifax
company_type = A trading name of the Bank of Scotland plc
company_slogan = "Always giving you extra"
foundation = 1853
location = Halifax, England
key_people =
industry = Finance and insurance
products = Financial services
revenue =
operating_income =
net_income =
num_employees =
parent =
subsid =
homepage = [http://www.halifax.co.uk/ www.halifax.co.uk]
footnotes =

Halifax is a commercial bank in the United Kingdom, one of the trading names of the Bank of Scotland plc which is part of the HBOS Group. Prior to 1997, it was the UK's largest building society, known as the Halifax Building Society. The Halifax is the UK's largest provider of residential mortgages and saving accounts. It is named after the town of Halifax, West Yorkshire where it retains its headquarters. Its slogan is "Always giving you extra".

On 17 September 2007, "Halifax" became a trading name of Bank of Scotland plc as part of reorganisation of the HBOS Group caused by the HBOS Group Reorganisation Act 2006.



The Halifax was formed in 1853 as the The Halifax Permanent Benefit Building and Investment Society. The idea was thought up in a meeting room situated above The Old Cock Inn close to the original Building Society building. Like all early building societies, the purpose of the Society was for the mutual benefit of local working people. Investors with surplus cash would invest in the society to receive interest, and borrowers could access loans to fund the purchase of a house.

Unlike many UK building societies which grew large by acquisitions and mergers, the Society choose an organic form of growth, and proceeded to open branches throughout the UK. By 1913, it was the largest building society in the UK. The first office in London opened in 1924; and the first offices in Scotland in 1928.

Halifax Building Society

In 1928, it merged with Halifax Equitable Building Society, then the second largest building society and was renamed Halifax Building Society. The Society was now five times larger than its nearest rival, with assets of £47 million.

A new Head Office was built at Trinity Road, Halifax in 1973. The distinctive diamond shaped building was used on marketing material during the 1980s and 90s. Underneath the building is a specially constructed deedstore which is used to store property deeds for a one off charge of £10. It is computerised and filled with gas to prevent fire. Its importance has diminished in recent years because property data is now kept on a central database kept by Her Majesty's Land Registry.


The Society continued to grow in size throughout the 20th century, remaining the UK's largest building society. The deregulation of the financial services industry in the 1980s saw the passing of the Building Societies Act 1986 which allowed societies greater financial freedoms, and diversification into other markets. Accordingly the Halifax acquired an estate agent to complement its mortgage business. It also expanded by offering current accounts and credit cards, traditionally services offered by commercial banks.


The 1986 Act also allowed building societies to demutualise, and become public limited companies instead of mutually owned organisations, owned by the customers who borrowed and saved with the society. Although the Abbey National demutualised in 1989, the process was not repeated until the late 1990s, when most of the large societies announced demutalisation plans. In 1995, the Halifax announced it was to merge with the Leeds Permanent Building Society and convert to a plc. The Halifax floated on the London Stock Exchange on 2 June 1997. Over 7.5 million customers of the Society became shareholders of the new bank, the largest extension of shareholders in UK history.

Halifax plc

As Halifax plc, the new bank was the fifth largest in the UK in terms of market capitalisation. Further expansion took place with the 1996 acquisition of Clerical Medical Fund Managers, a UK life insurance company. In 1999, the Halifax acquired the Birmingham Midshires Building Society and [http://www.comparetheloan.co.uk ComparetheLoan] . In 2000, Halifax established Intelligent Finance, a telephone and internet based bank.


In 2001, a wave of consolidation in the UK banking market led Halifax to agree a £10.8 billion merger with the Bank of Scotland. The new group was named Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) with headquarters in Edinburgh, but retaining both Halifax and the Bank of Scotland as brand names. However in Scotland, Halifax branches were amalgamated with the Bank of Scotland, and the Halifax brand is now only used for branding mortgages and savings products. Halifax branches in the rest of the UK use the Bank of Scotland brand for business banking. In 2006, the opposite occurred when the Bank of Scotland (Ireland), HBOS's main retail bank in the Republic of Ireland, announced that it would be rebranding its retail business as Halifax [http://www.halifax.ie/index.jsp?pID=94&nID=251] , citing the Irish public's exposure to Halifax advertising on ITV as among the reasons [http://www.rte.ie/business/2006/0825/bosi.html] . The Bank of Scotland name will be retained for business banking.

In 2006, the HBOS Group Reorganisation Act 2006 was passed. The aim of the Act was to simplify the corporate structure of HBOS. The Act was fully implemented on 17 September 2007 and the assets and liabilities of Halifax plc transferred to Bank of Scotland plc. The Halifax brand name will be retained as a trading style, but it no longer exists as a corporate entity.

Halifax Bank of Scotland saw shares dive nearly 20 percent at one point, on 19 March 2008, before recovering as the bank robustly denied rumors of liquidity problems that revived fears over the impact of the global credit crunch. [http://edition.cnn.com/2008/BUSINESS/03/19/world.markets/index.html] Heads of major British banks met with the governor of the Bank of England following days of market pressure on lenders' stocks. The Bank of England told after the 20 March 2008 meeting that participants had "agreed to continue their close dialogue with the objective of restoring more orderly market conditions." The bank's statement steadied the share price of HBOS after falling steeply in early trading on 19 March 2008. [http://edition.cnn.com/2008/BUSINESS/03/20/uk.banks.ap/index.html]

On the 17th September 2008 HBOS were in talks with another UK bank Lloyds TSB about the two banks merging [http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/Business/HBOS-TSB-Takeover-Timeline/Article/200809315102069?lpos=Business_Article_Related_Content_Region_9&lid=ARTICLE_15102069_HBOS_TSB_Takeover_Timeline] , after the HBOS share price fell rapidly [http://wrp.org.uk/news/3544] . On the 18th September, these talks resulted in a merger being agreed [http://www.londonstockexchange.com/LSECWS/IFSPages/MarketNewsPopup.aspx?id=1961683&source=RNS] . The merger was critisised as having been a 'shotgun wedding' [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/scotland/2977779/Salmond-attacks-shotgun-wedding-between-HBOS-and-Lloyds-TSB.html] , and rushed through too quickly by the two companies. The Prime minister Gordon Brown welcomed the deal citing the decision was 'right'. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7622380.stm]

TV adverts

Halifax pioneered an innovative approach to bank adverts in 2000, when it allowed its staff to star in adverts, singing popular songs with the words changed to reflect financial services products. Halifax worker Howard Brown is the regular star of the adverts. Following the merger with the Bank of Scotland, this practice has continued, with the Bank of Scotland also allowing its staff to take part.

In December 2006, Natalie Webster and four other Halifax colleagues Richard Willoughby, Jilly Ellard, Nicola Roberts and Paul Dudley, flew to Johannesburg to film the 'Halifax remix' of Aretha Franklin's "Think". The advert has been on air since February 2007. Another advert filmed stars Thomas Yau from Leeds singing a version of Herman's Hermits "I'm into Something Good". This advert has been on air since January 2008.

See also

* Halifax (Irish bank)

External links

* [http://www.halifax.co.uk Halifax]

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