Marks and Spencer has announced that it is to launch a bank this summer, which it says will bring the trusted Marks and Spencer brand values to banking and offer consumers more choice on the high street. It will be called M&S Bank and the first scheduled branch is due to open at the Marks and Spencer Flagship store in Marble Arch in July.
It is aimed that over 50 branches of the bank will be opened over the next two years, in M&S stores. Bank branches will mirror M&S opening times, enabling customers to bank whilst they shop, seven days a week. This means that branches will be open for up to twice as long as traditional banks.
Each branch will be managed by an M&S Bank team, and will have private meeting areas, self-service banking points and a bureau de change. It is aimed to create a relaxed and modern banking environment for customers, with M&S furniture and fresh flowers.
As well as the branches in M&S stores, customers will be able to access 24 hour online banking, and use UK based call centres.
A current account will become available from autumn 2012, and customers will be able to pre-register their interest from July. The aim is that mortgages will then be offered by the bank at a later date.
M&S have already branched into financial products, with over 3 million customers using M&S Money products. These include credit cards, loans and savings.
Marc Boland, Chief Executive at Marks and Spencer commented:
“M&S is one of the most trusted brands on the UK high street and we’ve achieved this by continually listening and responding to the needs of our 21 million customers. The bank will be built on M&S values; putting the customer at the heart of the proposition and delivering the exceptional service that sets us apart from the competition.”
Colin Kersley, Chief Executive of the new M&S Bank said:
“We know loyal M&S customers will be genuinely excited by the prospect of banking with their favourite retailer. With over 25 years financial services experience, M&S Bank is the natural next step for M&S Money and will provide customers with a credible, alternative choice in the banking sector.”
M&S Bank has the backing of one of the biggest banking brands in the UK, HSBC.
Joe Garner, head of HSBC in the UK commented:
“This is our most significant innovation in retail banking since we launched First Direct over 22 years ago. It is concrete evidence of HSBC increasing innovation, competition and investment in the UK.”
The launch of the bank will lead to the creation of 500 new jobs by the end of 2013. These will be made up of 400 customer-facing roles in branches UK-wide, and a further 100 jobs at the head office of the company in Chester.
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