Big banks seek to create 'business-friendly' image through PR drive

Britain's top banks are poised to hire a PR agency to rehabilitate the industry's reputation among small businesses.

Industry drive: Barclays is part of the task force
Industry drive: Barclays is part of the task force

Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS, Santander and Standard Chartered are among the well-known high street names participating in the Business Finance Taskforce, which is currently on the hunt for PR advice.

The taskforce, launched in October, aims to rebuild bridges with British SMEs following the financial crisis by improving relationships, access to finance and the provision of information.

The final stage of a pitch is understood to have taken place in recent days. According to one well-placed source: 'It is all about making sure the banks are seen as friends of SMEs.'

The pitch is being overseen by the British Bankers' Association, which co-ordinates the Business Finance Taskforce.

Portland, Fishburn Hedges and Open Road were all believed to be in the frame for the campaign as PRWeek went to press.

The winning agency will support the BBA's in-house comms team, which is led by Lesley McLeod, in a media relations drive to generate and improve coverage of banks in relation to small businesses.

The brief is thought to last for an initial six months, and be worth about £200,000 over that period.

The BBA has been at the forefront of public defence of the industry, leading efforts to combat the idea that Britain's banks have not been helping to kick-start the private sector.

The taskforce was launched last October with 17 commitments.

These included establishing a £1.5bn business growth fund, publishing a regular independent survey and improving access to debt, trade and alternative finance.

BANKS IN THE NEWS

Feb 2011: The Government says it will increase the levy on UK banks by £800m to £2.5bn.

Jan 2011: Deputy PM Nick Clegg tells the BBC the UK banking sector must be reformed so taxpayers are not liable for its mistakes.

Jan 2011: Edelman Trust Barometer finds trust in UK banks fell to 16 per cent, a 30-point drop in three years.

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

John Lewis to tell brand story with "tasteful" 150th anniversary celebrations

John Lewis to tell brand story with "tasteful" 150th anniversary celebrations

Department store John Lewis is to use its 150th anniversary this year to talk about its history, which "not enough people know about", according to director of communications Peter Cross.

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

The man who helped Barack Obama win the 2008 and 2012 US presidential elections is to work for Labour along with members of his team.

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Pay-TV giant Sky has added Fever PR to its agency line-up for a wide-ranging brief covering products and services.

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford has been sent home for Easter and will reconvene on Tuesday for further deliberations about its verdicts on 11 charges of indecent assault.

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

The Home Office has tasked Munro & Forster (M&F) with supporting its campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) as part of a wider retained brief.