UK retail giant Marks & Spencer is poised to take on Sainsbury’s and Tesco by offering competitive rate home loans, starting next year.
In a matter of months, shoppers will be able to drop a M&S mortgage in their baskets, after the store’s banking arm revealed that the well-trusted brand would be expanding into the home loans arena.
While there’s no information on what the rates will be, M&S Bank has announced that its deals will be accessible to home movers and first-time buyers. Though there’s no information on remortgages, M&S has said that it will be offering “competitive rates across a range of terms”, with full details being released in 2018.
The bank’s chief executive, Sue Fox, said: “Many of our customers have shopped with M&S their whole lives, feeling the comfort of the brand at every key life event.” She continued, “We’re now in a position to support our customers with the biggest financial decision they’ll ever make – their home.”
While M&S Bank is a joint firm managed by M&S and HSBC, it’s run entirely by the latter. Its precursor, M&S Money, was established by the retailer in 1985 and acquired by HSBC in 2004. Still, M&S Bank exists as a separate legal entity, with its own board and banking license.
As we all know, M&S isn’t the only major retailer with a presence in the mortgage arena. Sainsbury’s Bank came back to the sector in April 2017 after a long break, while Tesco’s bank arm has been a major player in the arena for some time.
Though M&S has a long-running reputation for quality, it’s not the first place most consumers go for a bargain. However, to turn their mortgages into a success, the company will need to offer competitive prices. While it may not fit in with their well-known brand identity, there’s no real reason why M&S Bank couldn’t break into the market with a range of competitively-priced mortgage offers. Its major backer, HSBC, has a reputation for its well-priced home loan deals and could have a significant influence on the way M&S comes to the arena.
Mortgages from M&S Bank will be available straight from the banking arm, and via selected brokers. This move means that M&S will soon be running a ‘full-service bank’, adding mortgages to its offers of current accounts, travel money and general insurance products in its 29 in-store branches throughout the UK.