Union lands pounds 15m Halifax bank brief

Halifax has handed the pounds 15 million launch of its internet and telephone banking arm, Greenfield, to the Scottish agency, the Union.

Halifax has handed the pounds 15 million launch of its internet and

telephone banking arm, Greenfield, to the Scottish agency, the

Union.



The Union has resigned the pounds 5 million Standard Life Bank business

in order to take on the Greenfield account.



Although no formal pitch was held, Greenfield spoke to agencies in

London and Scotland before making the appointment. Greenfield has also

asked the Union to handle its internet design.



Halifax, which was forced to close down its internet share-dealing site

last weekend after a security lapse, has committed substantial funds to

Greenfield over the next three years. The venture, which will target

ABC1 customers, is backed by money Halifax made when it converted from a

mutual building society into a bank in 1997.



Greenfield is expected to launch in late spring 2000. It is still in the

early stages of development and the company has only just secured its

premises in Edinburgh. Angela McIntosh, the marketing director of

Greenfield, said: ’We have a lot to do. It was important to get an

agency on board at an early stage.’



Jim Spowart, the managing director of Greenfield, said: ’This is a very

exciting but demanding project. It is clear that the Union has the depth

of experience and creative flair to deliver.’



Spowart was responsible for the launches of both Standard Life Bank and

Direct Line’s banking arm. He joined Greenfield from Standard Life Bank

in October, taking around 20 staff with him.



Ian McAteer, the managing director of the Union, said: ’The plans for

Greenfield are quite unusual. The fact that Jim has asked us to launch a

bank for the second time is a strong indication of the relationship

between us.’



Bates UK, which handles the main Halifax account, was not invited to

pitch for the business.



The Union won the Standard Life Bank business in September 1997.

Creative work on the account featured people using imaginary telephone

handsets.



McAteer added: ’We are sorry to be parting with Standard Life but when

we heard of the scale and nature of the opportunity with Greenfield we

had little choice.’



A media agency has yet to be appointed. Halifax said it was talking to

several agencies including Zenith.



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