CUSTOMERS and business leaders were left mourning the loss of one of Gloucestershire’s best-known brands as C&G disappeared from the High Street yesterday.
Bank branches with the Cheltenham & Gloucester name, which has been going for 163 years, have now been rebranded as TSB bank.
It comes after bosses at Lloyds TSB, forced to form the new bank under EU regulations, decided the C&G brand was not recognisable enough across the UK.
The good news is that the move does not entail any job losses. But yesterday there was a sense of sadness as the once mighty C&G name finally disappeared for good.
David Owen, chief executive of GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership, spoke for many people when he revealed a soft spot for the former building society.
“I remember having my first account with C&G in Brockworth so I’ve got a personal fondness for the brand,” he said. “But the most important thing is that no jobs are being lost here and staff will continue to operate in Gloucestershire under the new name.
“That said, I’m sure people of a certain age will always refer to the roundabout by the Barnwood building as the C&G roundabout and I think that reflects how strong and respected a brand it was.”
The sense of melancholy was echoed by Michael Ratcliffe, chairman of Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce.
He said: “It’s a sad day for the town. The C&G brand is part of the town’s heritage having been based here for all these years.
“You hear all sorts of stories from people relating to C&G over the years and I have a personal fondness for the company after having my own personal dealings with it. It’s very disappointing that the brand will no longer be there.”
The news means 164 C&G branches will be subsumed by TSB, along with 282 Lloyds TSB branches and 185 Lloyds TSB Scotland branches. Lloyds was forced to hive off the branches to form the new bank under EU competition rules after it was bailed out by the Government during the economic crisis.
Employing 8,000 staff looking after £22 billion on behalf of 4.5million customers, the new brand will not offer investment banking, overseas investment or big corporate finance.
Barnwood, home of Lloyds Banking Group and formerly C&G, will be TSB’s largest contact centre site in terms of staff where just under 1,000 employees will be based.
TSB’s Cirencester branch is set to open today, while the one in Tewkesbury will open tomorrow. Paul Pester, TSB’s chief executive, said: “We look forward to bringing local banking back to Gloucestershire and serving the local community.”