Money Insider: An opportunity for M&S bank to make mark
Saturday 16 June 2012
Over the last few years the UK banking scene has become pretty stale with very little to choose between the products and services offered by the big names on our high street.
The sector has been crying out for some serious new competition to wake it from its slumber and give consumers a credible alternative and the chance to experience an improved banking experience.
We've already got Metro Bank slowly building a new following from scratch in the London area and Virgin Money is due to burst on to the current account scene sometime next year.
But the most exciting news which could lead to a dramatic shake up of the banking market came last week when it was announced that the retail giant Marks and Spencer is soon to offer bank accounts and mortgages through its new M&S Bank brand.
The trusted retailer has been a dominant force in high street retailing for much of its 128-year history and now has plans to offer customers a new style "modern banking environment".
The banks will have opening hours in line with the stores, which means customers will be able to access services seven days a week and, in some outlets, early evenings. There will also be telephone and internet banking to compliment the new branch network.
With the first branch due to be opened in its flagship store in Marble Arch in London next month, this could be the beginning of a shake-up in the banking world and at last give the existing players something to sit up and take notice of.
The timetable suggests there will eventually be fifty M&S banks opened in existing stores across the country, initially selling the current range of financial services products, to be followed by a new bank account at the end of summer and a mortgage range sometime later.
The existing M&S Money financial products are seldom out of the best buy tables, from its ever popular rewards credit card, already held by 3 million customers, its table topping personal loan, right through to the very competitive ISA and savings accounts.
Because the current no-nonsense product range offers such good value, there is much anticipation to see the nuts and bolts of the forthcoming current account.
How it will differ from that of its parent company HSBC and its multi-award-winning stable partner, First Direct, we'll have to wait and see, but it will be a big disappointment if yet another bland bank account offering is wheeled out with a complex and expensive charging structure that the public can't understand.
M&S Bank has a real opportunity to become a major force in UK retail financial services, the combination of the backing of the banking giant HSBC and an established and trusted high-street brand could see many of its already loyal shoppers switch their banking allegiance to the new kid in town.
M&S's chief executive, Marc Bolland, said: "This 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."
Getting people to transfer their account from one bank to another has always been a difficult task and hence the reason we often see the £100 sweeteners being offered.
I'm sure Bolland fully appreciates that just another shade of beige isn't going to deliver his business objectives; he knows that banking customers want and deserve a better banking relationship.
With so many people disillusioned with the poor service levels and below-average products from their current bank, the potential for M&S Bank is huge.
But it will only have a postive impact if it gets its offering right, and that means top-notch service as well as an appealing product range that continues to reward customer loyalty.
AndrewHagger — Moneynet.co.uk
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
iJobs Money & Business
£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manage...
£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...
£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity h...
Day In a Page
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens