Will M&S Bank spark competition in the property market?
Last week saw the announcement of M&S Bank; 50 in-store branches set to open over the next two years with the first branch poised to open its doors at Marks and Spencer’s flagship store in Marble Arch in July.
The initial proposition will involve the offering of current accounts (available from autumn 2012) with plans to move into mortgages at a later date.
The news comes at a time when a number of lenders have increased their standard variable rates (SVR) and applications for mortgages are under the scrutiny of the sharpest of magnifying glasses.
However the promise of new players to the lending market is raising hopes of mortgage rate competition.
Marks and Spencer is widely recognised as a one of the UK’s most trusted brands, characteristics which are likely to be assimilated into the company’s bank strand.
Opening times of branches will correspond with standard store times, providing customers will real flexibility 7 days a week. Account holders will also benefit from 24hr online banking and UK-based call centres.
In store banking is not a new concept; last year supermarket giant Tesco was forced to scrap a new bank pilot scheme with critics claiming shoppers had not taken to the idea of combining shopping with sorting out their finances.
Despite this, Marks and Spencer remain positive about itsventure; over 70 per cent of its Premium Club customers found the idea of having a current account with the high street store appealing.
Colin Kersley is the Chief Executive of the new M&S Bank:
“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.”
Content correct at time of publication