Named after the Yorkshire town where it was founded back in 1853, Halifax is one of the most recognisable names in personal finance – due in part to their famous adverts around the turn of the millennium starring employee Howard Brown.
Now a part of Lloyds Banking Group (having previously been owned by HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland), they offer a full range of services including savings accounts, loans, credit cards and insurance.
As the UK’s leading provider of mortgages, Halifax was one of the banks hardest hit around the time of the 2009 global financial crisis with many customers defaulting on their repayments – leading to the company having to write off huge losses. However, also being responsible for more savings accounts than any other company in the country meant that it was able to bounce back strongly from the shortfalls of the credit crunch, with Halifax’s value now back to approaching where it stood at its peak.
Before turning into a bank, Halifax was regarded as the UK’s largest building society (at which point it was known as Halifax Building Society) – however, since de-mutualising in 1997, this aspect of the industry is now dominated by Nationwide.
Unlike most other major banking chains, Halifax deal almost exclusively in personal finance – however, in recent years they have begun to branch out into wealth management and investment banking, though it remains only a minor player in those markets.