More good news for jobs in Chester as HSBC and Marks & Spencer announce city as headquarters of new M&S Bank

Marks and Spencer and HSBC have announced that this summer will mark the arrival of M&S Bank, bringing the trusted Marks & Spencer brand values to banking and offering customers a new choice of bank on the UK high street.

Over the next two years, 50 M&S Bank branches will open in M&S stores across the UK, creating 400 new jobs in branches across the country and around 100 at the company’s head office in Chester.

Branches will be open twice as long as traditional high street banks; mirroring M&S store opening hours and enabling customers to bank while they shop, seven days a week. Customers will benefit from 24 hour access to online banking, as well as UK based call centres.

A current account will be made available from autumn 2012 and customers can pre-register their interest in July, mortgages will be offered by the bank at a later date. Over 3 million customers already use M&S Money products, including credit cards, loans and savings.

Marc Bolland, Chief Executive at Marks & Spencer said: “M&S is one of the most trusted brands on the UK high street and we’ve achieved this by continually listening and responding to the needs of our 21 million customers. 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.”

Colin Kersley, Chief Executive of the new M&S Bank, added: “We know loyal M&S customers will be genuinely excited by the prospect of banking with their favourite retailer. 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 in the banking sector.”

In addition to its strong retail heritage, M&S Bank has the support of one of the world’s most successful and financially strong banks – HSBC.

Joe Garner, Head of HSBC in the UK, commented: “This is our most significant innovation in retail banking since we launched First Direct over 22 years ago. It is concrete evidence of HSBC increasing innovation, competition and investment in the UK.”

Each branch will be managed by a dedicated M&S Bank team and will feature private meeting areas, self service banking points, as well as a bureau de change. The aim is to create, a relaxed, modern banking environment for customers, with personal touches such as M&S furniture and fresh flowers.

Commenting on the announcement, Chester MP Stephen Mosley said: “Aside from the benefits created by greater choice in high street banking, this announcement is further good news for the jobs market in Chester.

“M&S Money is an extremely valued local employer and I am delighted that up to one hundred new jobs will be created at the Business Park to support this nationwide rollout.”