Marks & Spencer to introduce bank services in-store

The high street stalwart has announced that it will open own-brand bank branches in its stores this summer.

by Michael Northcott
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

M&S revealed that it will open the first of the branches in the flagship Marble Arch store in London, and it plans to create around 50 in-store branches over the next two years. The chain is planning to create around 500 jobs nationally. 

The retailer is hoping to gain a competitive edge over traditional high street banks, as it plans to keep branches open twice as long as its more established competitors, mirroring its own store opening hours. Current accounts will be available from autumn this year, soon to be followed by mortgages. M&S already has a set-in customer base with its M&S Money services that include credit cards, loans and savings accounts. 

M&S Bank will be financially supported by the HSBC as well as its retail portfolio, but it is not new to offering financially regulated services: its M&S Money brand was founded in 1985, and now operates as a joint venture between HSBC and M&S. 

All of its banks are expected to have private meeting rooms, cash machines and bureaux de change. The chain said in a statement that ‘the aim is to create a relaxed, modern banking environment for customers.’ In a cheesy little addition to the offering, bank branches will also feature fresh flowers and M&S furniture – just in case you spot an armchair you’d like to purchase once you’ve had that overdraft extension approved…

The news comes as the chain’s chief executive, Marc Bolland, pockets a £2.5m pay package, despite having presided over a drop of 1% in annual profits to £705.9m for the year to 31 March. Meanwhile, 78,000 other staff will see their bonus shrink this year as a result of poor-performing sales in womenswear. With those shiny new bank branches though, digging into those savings will certainly be easier! 

But with the longer opening hours, we’re just banking on being able to cash our old-fashioned cheques after 4pm, before grabbing a meal deal on the way out…

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