BA global bank set for take-off

British Airways is on the verge of setting up an international banking operation.

British Airways is on the verge of setting up an international

banking operation.



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

institution.



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

services.’



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

marketing business.



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.



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