Tesco to create 800 jobs at TPF call centre

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The Independent Online

Tesco is to create 800 jobs by opening a new call centre in Glasgow ahead of the retail giant launching a "full banking service".

The UK's biggest grocer is considering launching current accounts and mortgages after completing the acquisition of Tesco Personal Finance, the joint venture it formed with Royal Bank of Scotland, for £950m in December.

Andrew Higginson, the chief executive of Tesco Retailing Services, said: "The opening of the new customer service centre will be a significant step towards TPF offering a full banking service. It is hard to ignore that people's trust in the banking sector is at a very low ebb."

Tesco is to start recruiting for the call centre later this year. The new customer service centre will open in the first half of 2010 in central Glasgow and customers will be migrated over before the end of 2011, in an effort to ensure a smooth transition.

In addition to the 800 staff for the new customer service centre, Tesco is also in discussions with RBS about transferring over 500 staff, who work for TPF, to the retail giant.

Launched in 1997, TPF is the UK's largest supermarket bank, which has grown to have nearly six million customer accounts across 28 financial products and services, including credit cards, personal loans, home and travel insurance.

Tesco does not yet provide bank account services, but it is piloting branches in six stores, including Blackpool, Long Eaton, Coventry and Oldham.

Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, said: "This is a strong vote of confidence in Scotland's financial services industry from one of the UK's leading companies."

The Scottish government gave TPF a £5m grant to assist in creating the call centre.