M&S to open 28 more bank branches

Marks and SpencerMarks & Spencer has announced plans to open 28 bank branches by the end of the year, as its first current accounts went live.

The retail giant, which has so far opened 13 bank branches out of 16 locations which have already been confirmed, unveiled a further list of 12 branches planned by the end of 2012.
They will open in London Colney, Hertfordshire; Braehead, Renfrewshire; Oxford; Merry Hill, Dudley; Milton Keynes; Cheshire Oaks, Cheshire; Camberley, Surrey; Norwich; White City, London; Exeter; Shoreham, Kent; and Lisburn, Belfast.

Meanwhile, customers can apply for M&S premium current accounts, which carry fees of up to £240 a year in return for "transparent" terms and a range of in-store perks.

The retailer opened its first bank branch in July, offering seven days a week banking facilities and a pager service meaning customers can carry on with their shopping instead of queuing.

The launch of a new player in the market came as mainstream banks have been battling to win back confidence in the wake of incidents such as NatWest's IT chaos and Barclays' Libor-fixing scandal.

M&S has previously confirmed that it intends to open a total of 50 bank branches by the end of 2013, with opening hours mirroring the shops in which they are sited.

Customers have been able to pre-register for the new M&S current accounts since July.

A spokeswoman for M&S Bank declined to give any figures for the level of interest during pre-registration, but said the accounts have been "well-received".

For £20 a month, the premium current account with insurance promises customers more than £500-worth of annual benefits such as M&S vouchers, travel insurance and loyalty points on debit card purchases. Customers will also be given access to a savings account with a fixed rate of 6%.
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