LONDON (Reuters) - Tesco will open bank branches in 30 of its stores by the end of this year, Britain’s biggest retailer said on Sunday, as it looks to cash in on disillusion with traditional banks in the credit crisis.
The supermarket group also said it was pressing ahead with plans to offer a current account, but that this was probably 18 months to two years away as it needs to set up new IT platforms.
“We’re very, very keen to offer the current account service,” a spokesman said. “It’s a case of doing it properly.”
Confidence in banks across the world has plunged after reckless lending triggered a credit crisis which has forced several government bail-outs.
Tesco agreed in July to buy out Royal Bank of Scotland from their financial joint venture for 950 million pounds and said it planned to set up a full-service retail bank.
It aims to make annual profits from this and its other services businesses, which include telecoms as well as online and home shopping, of 1 billion pounds in a few years, up from under 400 million now.
Tesco has been trialling an in-store bank in Glasgow since 2006 and plans to open three more in Brislington, Blackpool and Coventry next month.
The branches will offer Tesco’s existing range of financial services, which include insurance and credit cards, and there will also be terminals with access to Tesco Compare, its Web site comparing different insurance products.
Reporting by Mark Potter; Editing by Rupert Winchester