The HSBC-owned brand, which now has 1.2 million customers, was the UK's first direct-banking proposition. Formed at the time by Midland Bank, the brand was introduced to consumers with different ads running concurrently on ITV and Channel 4, interrupting an Audi commercial.
In the ads, a woman claimed to be making the "first attempt to communicate across time", which was being sponsored by First Direct to celebrate its 21st birthday. The aim had been to portray First Direct as the future of banking.
Original taglines for the brand included: "First Direct – the first name in direct banking" and "It's time for something better. It's time for First Direct."