Five questions answered on the re-emergence of TSB after 18 years

Lloyds TSB re-brand 600 stores.

The name TSB will once again feature on the UK’s high streets after Lloyds TSB re-brand 600 of its stores across the country with the name. We answer five questions on TSB’s comeback.

Why has Lloyd TSB branded 600 of its branches TSB?

The bank, which is 39 per cent owned by the taxpayer, is branding the branches TSB – which used to be on the high street 18 years ago – in preparation to sell of the new bank next year as part of a process ordered by the European Commission to provide greater competition.

It was also a condition of the government’s bail out of the bank. 

How will this affect customers of Lloyds TSB?

For the five million people who will have their accounts transferred to the new bank the only change they will experience is a change in name.

Bank account numbers and sort codes will remain the same and no one’s card will stop working because of the switch, the bank has reassured.

Instead customers will receive a new card with the new name in due course.

Until the sell-off will TSB be run as a separate bank or part of Lloyds?

The bank will be run as a separate entity until its shares are sold off next year.

The creation of a separate bank comes after a deal with the Co-operative Group to buy the branches fell through due to concerns about the financial stability of the Group.

What have the experts said?

Many experts have raised doubts over whether selling off TSB as a separate bank will make much difference to competition.

Shore Capital's banking analyst Gary Greenwood told the BBC: "TSB will be painted as a new challenger brand on the high street but I doubt that its pricing is going to be very differentiated to competitors.

"Current accounts tend to be very sticky and customers only tend to move if they have a really, really bad experience."

When was TSB originally set up and what happened to it?

TSB was set up 200 years ago as the Trustee Savings Bank and 18 years ago it was merged with Lloyds.

Lloyds TSB. Photograph: Getty Images

Heidi Vella is a features writer for Nridigital.com

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A swimming pool and a bleeding toe put my medical competency in doubt

Doctors are used to contending with Google. Sometimes the search engine wins. 

The brutal heatwave affecting southern Europe this summer has become known among locals as “Lucifer”. Having just returned from Italy, I fully understand the nickname. An early excursion caused the beginnings of sunstroke, so we abandoned plans to explore the cultural heritage of the Amalfi region and strayed no further than five metres from the hotel pool for the rest of the week.

The children were delighted, particularly my 12-year-old stepdaughter, Gracie, who proceeded to spend hours at a time playing in the water. Towelling herself after one long session, she noticed something odd.

“What’s happened there?” she asked, holding her foot aloft in front of my face.

I inspected the proffered appendage: on the underside of her big toe was an oblong area of glistening red flesh that looked like a chunk of raw steak.

“Did you injure it?”

She shook her head. “It doesn’t hurt at all.”

I shrugged and said she must have grazed it. She wasn’t convinced, pointing out that she would remember if she had done that. She has great faith in plasters, though, and once it was dressed she forgot all about it. I dismissed it, too, assuming it was one of those things.

By the end of the next day, the pulp on the underside of all of her toes looked the same. As the doctor in the family, I felt under some pressure to come up with an explanation. I made up something about burns from the hot paving slabs around the pool. Gracie didn’t say as much, but her look suggested a dawning scepticism over my claims to hold a medical degree.

The next day, Gracie and her new-found holiday playmate, Eve, abruptly terminated a marathon piggy-in-the-middle session in the pool with Eve’s dad. “Our feet are bleeding,” they announced, somewhat incredulously. Sure enough, bright-red blood was flowing, apparently painlessly, from the bottoms of their big toes.

Doctors are used to contending with Google. Often, what patients discover on the internet causes them undue alarm, and our role is to provide context and reassurance. But not infrequently, people come across information that outstrips our knowledge. On my return from our room with fresh supplies of plasters, my wife looked up from her sun lounger with an air of quiet amusement.

“It’s called ‘pool toe’,” she said, handing me her iPhone. The page she had tracked down described the girls’ situation exactly: friction burns, most commonly seen in children, caused by repetitive hopping about on the abrasive floors of swimming pools. Doctors practising in hot countries must see it all the time. I doubt it presents often to British GPs.

I remained puzzled about the lack of pain. The injuries looked bad, but neither Gracie nor Eve was particularly bothered. Here the internet drew a blank, but I suspect it has to do with the “pruning” of our skin that we’re all familiar with after a soak in the bath. This only occurs over the pulps of our fingers and toes. It was once thought to be caused by water diffusing into skin cells, making them swell, but the truth is far more fascinating.

The wrinkling is an active process, triggered by immersion, in which the blood supply to the pulp regions is switched off, causing the skin there to shrink and pucker. This creates the biological equivalent of tyre treads on our fingers and toes and markedly improves our grip – of great evolutionary advantage when grasping slippery fish in a river, or if trying to maintain balance on slick wet rocks.

The flip side of this is much greater friction, leading to abrasion of the skin through repeated micro-trauma. And the lack of blood flow causes nerves to shut down, depriving us of the pain that would otherwise alert us to the ongoing tissue damage. An adaptation that helped our ancestors hunt in rivers proves considerably less use on a modern summer holiday.

I may not have seen much of the local heritage, but the trip to Italy taught me something new all the same. 

This article first appeared in the 17 August 2017 issue of the New Statesman, Trump goes nuclear