LONDON: Retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) plans to launch in-store banking services next month backed by HSBC, competing with the rest of Britain's established but unpopular high street banks.
After the financial crisis blew up in 2008, many Britons blamed the country's biggest banks for its economic problems, so M&S, a stalwart of town centres for nearly 130 years, hopes to lure banking customers its way.
The public is also angry that senior bankers such as Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond have pocketed multi-million pound bonuses while the country has slid into two successive recessions and many are out of work.
"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," chief executive Marc Bolland said yesterday.
The group, which serves around 21 million customers each week, said 50 M&S Bank branches would open in its stores across the UK over the next two years, with the first scheduled to open in July at its flagship Marble Arch store in London.