Bank of Scotland (Ireland) - part of the HBOS group - is to rebrand its retail banking business to Halifax. The bank says this is one of the most recognised retail banking brands in Europe with 22 million customers.

The Halifax brand in Ireland will comprise the retail branch network, the personal banking products launched earlier this year, the customer service centre and online channels and future personal banking products. The other businesses will continue to be branded as Bank of Scotland (Ireland).

A third of the bank's retail bank branch network of 46 branches is now open and the bank says it is on target to attract 40,000 new customers at the end of its first year as a retail bank here. It said that all existing Bank of Scotland (Ireland) branches will become Halifax branches before the end of the year.

Bank of Scotland (Ireland) says that the Halifax brand has built a strong awareness here as a result of its high profile UK television advertising campaigns. Market researchers estimated that 63% of the Irish population views UK stations at home.