UK direct bank Intelligent Finance has been rapped over the knuckles by the Advertising Standards Authority for making misleading claims about its market share credentials.
The ASA adjudicated in favour of rival bank First Direct, which had complained about an IF newspaper advertisement headlined "Now the No1 direct bank in the UK".
IF made its claim on the basis of net mortgage lending figures and account openings published in direct banking league tables for 2001. However, First Direct objected to the claims since its figures are not published seperately from parent bank HSBC.
In its adjudication, the AFA states: "The advertisers had not made clear that the claim "Now the No1 direct bank" related to those telephone, Internet or postal banks that did not have a branch network and whose asset balances were published as separate and identifiable items in the parent company's annual report."
It concluded that the comparison was not clear and fair and has asked IF to refrain from repeating the claim unless it holds documentary evidence to back up its case.