Marks & Spencer is to offer mortgages in its plan to set up a bank with a network of 50 branches in store over the next two years.
The first M&S branch will open next month in the flagship retail store at Marble Arch, London. M&S Bank branches will all be in stores and will be open on weekends. The move will create 500 jobs, including 400 in stores and 100 at the firm’s HQ in Chester.
The venture will be a partnership between the retailer and HSBC. M&S Bank branches will be owned by M&S but underlying profits generated by the banking business will be split evenly between M&S and HSBC.
M&S already operates financial services arm M&S Money, which is owned by HSBC and provides products such as investments, savings accounts and travel money.
M&S Bank will offer a current account from the autumn with a mortgage range at a later date.
An M&S spokeswoman declined to comment on whether M&S Bank will only be offering HSBC mortgages.
M&S Bank chief executive Colin Kersley says: “With over 25 years’ financial services experience, M&S Bank is the natural next step for M&S Money and will provide customers with a credible, alternative choice.”
Chartwell Funding managing director Robert Winfield says: “The move makes sense as M&S and HSBC are a good fit. It should give more potential borrowers access to mortgages but it is disappointing they will not be getting independent advice. I do not particularly see it as a threat, as HSBC is known for cherrypicking who it will lend to.”
Trinity Financial Group head of communications Aaron Strutt says: “This is a logical step but with M&S Bank being open longer, that may cause an issue if those longer hours are not matched by HSBC underwriters.”