NatWest looks to pare down direct arrangements

LONDON - NatWest is preparing to review its direct marketing arrangements, raising speculation that an agency may be axed from its roster.

The initiative is in line with the hard-nosed business approach of Sir Fred Goodwin, the chief executive of NatWest's parent company, the Royal Bank of Scotland. Goodwin takes a tough line on controlling costs while growing sales.

As a result, NatWest is said to be looking to achieve better response rates from its direct marketing activity without raising budgets.

Industry sources believe a reduced roster could lead to the remaining agencies being offered more business on smaller margins.

The current NatWest roster includes Joshua, which deals with loans and business banking advertising, Miller Bainbridge (cards), Craik Jones Watson Mitchell Voelkel (youth marketing, premium products and cards) and Lida (mortgages).

Earlier this year, the Royal Bank of Scotland hired Adam Leigh, the former joint managing director of Euro RSCG London, as a freelance consultant to oversee NatWest's advertising and marketing.

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