UK's original challenger bank first direct turns 30

UK's original challenger bank first direct turns 30

The UK's original challenger bank, first direct, is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary.

Launched by Midland Bank in 1989 under the codename Project Raincloud, first direct broke the mould with a 24-hours-a-day telephone banking service at a time when most bank branches opened at 9.30am and closed at 3.30pm.

Taken over by HSBC in 1992, first direct moved into Internet banking in 2000 and mobile banking in 2006.

Today, first direct provides mobile banking, online and telephone services to 1.49m customers and offers a full range of personal banking products including current accounts and mortgages.

Since launch the bank has fielded 260 million calls - at an average of 8.7 million a year - although 98% of transactions are now conducted online and via the mobhile app.

Joe Gordon, Head of first direct, says: “How we’ve delivered this service has changed over the last 30 years, but we’ve always remained focused on our customers’ financial wellbeing. It’s never been about being the best telephone bank, online bank, app bank. No-one gets up the morning and says I want to do some banking today. You just want to be able to do what you need to do and move on. We focus on personalisation - what customers want to do with their money.”

Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 01 October, 2019, 10:51Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

As a First Direct customer since 1992, I agree they provide a wondeful service and banking experience. Nothing appears to be too much trouble. That said, I wish they'd offer even a half decent rate of interest on their savings products!