Bradford & Bingley History

B&BThe Bradford & Bingley Building Society was established back in 1964 following the successful merger of Bingley Permanent Building Society and Bradford Equitable Building Society. These institutions have a deep history that goes all the way back to 1851. It was located in the north of England in the West Yorkshire town of Bingley — which shares the company’s name and provided the inspiration for the name of the society.

Services and Sponsorships

Bradford & Bingley Building Society was focused on providing a range of financial services such as savings and insurance. However, the Bradford & Bingley’s most popular and successful financial service was mortgages. The company purchased Mortgage Express from Lloyds TSB in May 1997 for £64 million after Lloyds TSB felt that the brand no longer had a place in the company. Prior to the acquisition, the company already provided customers with an outlet to take out and pay off their mortgages, but Mortgage Express was intended be a ‘niche’ specialist lending brand focusing on high risk clients whom other banks would not usually lend to.  In 2007, the Bradford & Bingley Building Society had 140 locations offering face to face advice about all aspects of the mortgage process, from application to repayments.

Bradford & Bingley was also the sponsor of several sporting clubs in their local county of Yorkshire. The sponsorships included Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Bradford City AFC and the Bingley Bees — who, in fact, changed their name to Bradford & Bingley RFC in recognition of their sponsor. The Valley Parade stadium, an all-seater football stadium in Bradford, was formerly known as the Bradford & Bingley Stadium through sponsorship rights acquired during the deal.

Sale and Nationalisation

In 2008, after the global economic collapse led to a credit crunch, Bradford & Bingley’s share price dropped to a record low. It was forced to let go of 370 employees as a consequence and sought funding from the Financial Services Authority and the government in order to remain in business. One of the ideas to save the business put forward by shareholders was selling the company to another bank; another was nationalision. They chose a bit of both in order to save the company.

Bradford & Bingley was split into two parts. Most of the financial services were sold to Abbey National, who were owned by Spain’s Santander, which acquired their 2.7 million customers worth £20 billion. The mortgage book, however, remained in the hands of Bradford & Bingley, as part of the ‘nationalisation’ process. As a result, the company is no longer in the market for new business, but continues to serve old customers who already had their mortgage with the company prior to the sale and nationalisation.

During the process of nationalisation, it was revealed that Bradford & Bingley had registered over 100 trademarks throughout the course of their history. The trademarks all featured a bowler hat, which was the company’s long-standing logo. Ownership of these trademarks was passed onto Santander as part of the sale, alongside the licence to use the Bradford & Bingley name in trade, although the bank chooses mostly not to.