British Airways is on the verge of setting up an international
The initiative, which could be launched later this year, has the working
title British Airways Global Bank. It will target high-value customers
and is likely to be run in partnership with a leading financial
A BA spokeswoman refused to confirm or deny the plans. ’It is our
long-standing policy not to comment on speculation about mergers,
acquisitions and investments,’ she said.
BA is ideally placed to run a banking operation. It has huge resources,
a strong global brand and a large database of customers compiled through
its Executive Club Class loyalty scheme.
The managing director of one top direct marketing agency said: ’A brand
such as BA has a lot of equity among customers looking for financial
Sainsbury’s, Tesco, British Gas and Virgin have all moved into financial
services in the past year.
Using its database, BA could cherry-pick affluent customers to target
with promotional information. This could mean that one of its direct
marketing agencies - Claydon Heeley, Tullo Marshall Warren, Carlson or
Grey Integrated - is in line to receive a large chunk of relationship
Just under two years ago, BA set up a consumer financial services
division, sparking rumours that it planned to sell PEPs, life insurance
and personal pensions. So far these have failed to materialise.
BA already offers preferential deals for foreign currency (with
Travelex), travel insurance (with Home and Overseas Insurance) and
credit and charge cards (via NatWest and Diners Club).
Speculation was heightened last month when BA advertised for financial
services staff in London’s Evening Standard.