One of Britain's most trusted brands is to open 50 high street banks, creating 500 new jobs over the next two years.
Marks & Spencer, which already provides credit cards, loans and savings through M&S Money, will open its first bank branch at the Marble Arch flagship store next month and offer current accounts from the autumn.
In 2010 M&S beat John Lewis and Boots to be voted Britain’s most trusted retailer, according to a YouGov survey. At a time when public trust in high-street banks is waning, Marks & Spencer hopes to attract new business with a customer-focussed approach, including seven-day week opening hours.
M&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.”
However, the retailer does share some traditional banking practices. Bolland awarded himself a banker-style bonus this year, bringing his total pay packet up to £2.5m, despite presiding over a fall in annual profits.