| | | Effective PR

HSBC cuts final ties with Midland Bank identity

BIScom Subsection: 
Editorial Staff


 Midland Bank Griffin Logo HSBC's takeover of Midland Bank was a nightmare of regulatory challenges. Now, 25 years after eventually being taken over, the last little bit of Midland identity is being removed.


The story of Midland Bank is the story of one of the world's largest and, on some measures, most successful banks. It even began to make significant inroads into the USA, but ran into problems as all foreign banks do when they start to take market share from domestic operations.

In the 1980s, The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation bid to take over Midland and it all seemed to be going very well. The two banks even integrated some of their computer systems. But the the Bank of England, the UK banking regulator, stepped in and imposed many conditions, one of which was that the Hong Kong Bank must, as a condition of approval for the take-over, become primarily regulated in London. That meant moving senior operations half-way across the world. At first, HSBC said no and very publicly withdrew from the deal. But the reality was that the integration was already too ingrained for an easy separation. HSBC formally moved its head office to Canary Wharf and, in 1992, the takeover was completed.

But Midland, a technologically advanced and innovative bank, remained on the British High Street just in time for the year 2000.

However, in a little, arcane, part of the bank, hints of Midland stayed on. For many HSBC branches, their SWIFT and other codes retained their MIDL aspects.

Now, a quarter of a century later, HSBC is at last converting its BIC, SWIFT and IBAN codes by replacing MIDL with HBUK.

It's a tiny change but one that marks the final end of a bank that began in Birmingham in 1923 and, therefore, doesn't quite make it to have any remaining identifiable elements to 100 years old.

HSBC, on the other hand, being formed in 1865, long predates Midland and has just passed, without much fanfare, its 150th anniversary.