First Direct was founded in 1989 by Midland Bank, whose own name is no longer in use following its acquisition by HSBC in 1992. The First Direct brand lived on with its own name and reputation.
First Direct has no high street branches of its own, relying instead on internet and phone services. But as First Direct is owned by HSBC, customers are able to use the HSBC branch network.
It also offers home and travel insurance, underwritten by Aviva.