What is the difference between Lloyds and Halifax?

I fairly sure Lloyds bought Halifax (which I believe might have included Bank of Scotland) so why did Lloyds decide to keep all three of it’s main brands when they essentially do the same thing? I understand keeping Bank of Scotland a bit more due to it’s historical importantance in Scotland, but why not merge Halifax and Lloyds into one brand?

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Lloyds is green and Halifax is blue. It’s the same reason RBS and NatWest are separate brands or why we have Walkers and Vauxhall while the continent has Lay’s and Opel. Brand recognition and not wanting to lose loyal customers


Did Santander think their brand was stronger than Abbey’s when they bought it?

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Halifax is a brand of HBOS (alongside Bank of Scotland, Intelligent Finance and other companies). HBOS in turn is a wholly–owned subsidiary of Lloyds Banking Group.

Lloyds Bank and HBOS have separate banking licenses, so you have separate FSCS protection at Lloyds and Halifax/BoS.

The brands operate different products, and are targeted at different demographics. BoS primarily operates in Scotland, Lloyds in England and Wales, and Halifax across the whole of GB & NI.

Most of the Big Five banks in the UK operate different brands, companies and products; think first direct/HSBC, NatWest/Ulster. Smaller banks also do the same; cf. Co-operative/Smile.


Thank you!

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If you travel a lot, Halifax Clarity credit card is reputed to be the best on the market. Halifax are also a massive mortgage lender.

Lloyds offers business banking, commercial banking, international banking.

Both offer their own range of premium accounts, with different packages and benefits. And (since this seems to be of interest to quite a few Monzo customers), both offer in-app cheque deposits.


I’ve heard this before, but I’m curious as to what makes it better than another 0% fx card? Does it have any special features?

It’s a MasterCard-rate credit card. There are plenty of other cards out there, but as far as I know, not many come with the protection that only comes with a credit card.

There’s the Nationwide Member card and the Barclaycard Rewards. Although not sure what rate those use

They both use Visa’s wholesale rate (like Mastercard’s, it is supposed to be the “perfect” rate but is often slightly less competitive than Mastercard).

To return to the original question, I remember reading an interview with António Horta-Osório a while ago (the group CEO) where he explained that it was basically all down to wildly differing customer demographics across the different brands. He didn’t say as bluntly as this but it’s basically: Bank of Scotland is very popular in Scotland; Lloyds Bank is both a mainstream brand and attracts premium/affluent customers; Halifax appeals to the everyman, supposedly.

Axing Bank of Scotland would create significant blowback in Scotland, as Virgin Money are now finding by attempting to rebrand Clydesdale Bank. Halifax is well loved in the north of England due to a similar local affinity. Lloyds Bank is the primary brand and would therefore never be expected to be the one to go.

The situation with Santander was vastly different. Santander were keen to bring their own brand to the U.K., and the bought lots of ex-building societies to combine into the new putative Santander U.K. - Bradford & Bingley, Alliance & Leicester and Abbey National. They wanted to make a splash in the market and send a clear message that they were a “proper bank”, not a building society, so a rebrand was seen as a good way to do this. None of the brands were quite as established as Llloyd’s brands either, so it was fine to get rid of them.

It doesn’t cost that much for the Lloyds group to keep the brands separate, as most things (like their mobile apps) are just re-badged clones. There is also little overlap in branch network, with the exception of Halifax and Lloyds in some parts of England and Wales. It’s therefore been judged to be overall advantageous to continue with the status quo.


I suspect this is no longer true. IIRC Mastercard quietly changed their approach to forex a few years ago and the rates aren’t that different anymore.

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Halifax is also a sister company to rbs who went bankrupt last year and we had to bail them out


I haven’t tested it extensively myself, but I read an MSE article a while ago where they did. Sometimes one would come out better than the other by a few pence, but there was little in it overall. When everything was added up, Visa was slightly worse - but I think it only added up to about 51p over £100 of spend!

Mind you, the philosophy of that site is that every penny counts!

I personally always prefer to use Mastercard as I still have a legacy card which gives 0.5% cashback even when abroad. I also have a Nationwide Visa credit card, as a backup, which is also fee-free to use abroad but gives no cashback.

No it’s not.

Halifax is part of Bank of Scotland.

Royal Bank of Scotland is a completely different bank, part of the NatWest group. RBS was overextended due to risky management in the lead-up to the credit crunch and last financial crisis, so it was part-nationalised in 2008.

Nothing happened to either bank last year.


Indeed, HBOS came within (about six) hours of collapse during the global credit crunch in 2008 and was bailed out by LloydsTSB in a deal pushed through on the back of a fag packet by the government, bypassing due process because of the imminent implosion of the UK’s financial stability. LloydsTSB itself was bailed out by the treasury a month later to prevent its collapse, but has since paid the money back.

(But, yeah, this wasn’t last year, it was well over a decade ago.)

For those on this forum too young to remember the credit crunch, we came within hours of the entire UK ATM network being taken offline which would have almost certainly precipitated wide scale panic in the whole country, and could have threatened major public disorder and the entire banking industry and economy, with no one able to withdraw their savings from any institution. It was a big deal, which directly led people like Tom Blomfield to set up Starling and Monzo.


It was also that same crisis and bail out which lead to LloydsTSB having to agree to dispose of a significant number of branches to reduce the size of their market share in the UK which eventually lead to TSB becoming an independent(ish) bank account after initially the original plan to sale the branches to the Co-op bank falling apart and nearly collapsing that bank as well… TSB eventually was spun off as an independent bank before later being bought by the Spanish bank Sabadell. Sabadell last year announced they were looking to sale off TSB again with Santander being lined up as a potential buyer before they backed out again earlier this year…

So, its all just a giant game of musical chairs…

RBS was also supposed to do the same and originally was going to ‘spin off’ their old William and Glyn brand into a separate bank with around 300+ branches (all the RBS branches in the England and the Natwest Branches in Scotland).

When they said they couldn’t find a buyer instead led to an alternative of them provided a lump sum payment back to the Government that would then be reinvested in Challenger Banks to develop a competitive small to medium enterprise bank market - a fund which I’m pretty sure both Monzo and Starling have successfully bid for funding from to develop their business banking service.

Is it a bit nerdy to find all this bank history actually quite fascinating :slight_smile:


Actually - something that I’m not sure of myself. With FSCS protection, would that mean you’d be ‘more’ protected if you had 1 Lloyds account and 1 Halifax account rather than if you just had 2 Lloyds accounts? Is the protection you get limited to ‘per person/legal entity’ or ‘per account’?

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The protection is per banking licence. Lloyds Bank has one licence, Halifax and Bank of Scotland share a separate licence. So you’d have full protection of £85,000 in Lloyds and £85,000 in Halifax. But if you did the same across Halifax and Bank of Scotland, you’d be severely underinsured if the Lloyds Banking Group went bust.

In short, each banking licence protects up to £85,000 of your money under all the brands coming within each licence.


Which is why who owns/operates which brands is actually very important, as customers should be aware that the £85,000 limit per license includes all the brands under that license.

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