800 new jobs as Tesco pushes banking ambitions

Author: By Graeme Evans, Press Association

The site in central Glasgow is expected to open in the first half of next year
and will support the company’s drive to offer a full banking service.

Edinburgh-based Tesco Personal Finance currently has six million customer
accounts and offers 28 different financial products and services, including
general insurance and personal loans.

Tesco has been quick to pounce amid the banking crisis, relaunching TPF as a
savings brand to capitalise on rock-bottom consumer confidence in
established brands, particularly among loyal Tesco customers.

The group recently bought out former partner Royal Bank of Scotland, snapping
up the 50% it did not own in TPF, while there has been speculation that
Tesco may bid for Northern Rock when the Government sells the lender.

Tesco also recently started opening bank branches in its stores.

Andrew Higginson, chief executive of Tesco Retailing Services, described the
new service centre as a “significant step” towards a full banking service,
which would include current accounts and mortgages.

He added: “It is hard to ignore that people’s trust in the banking sector is
at a very low ebb.

“Offering first class customer service, however, is central to our Tesco
values and the new centre will most certainly help us put the Tesco into
Tesco Personal Finance.”

Tesco Personal Finance, which currently employs 500 people in Edinburgh, has
received a £5 million grant from the Scottish Government to help create the
service centre.

Today’s announcement was made ahead of a visit to the company’s Edinburgh base
by Chancellor Alistair Darling.

He said: “This is a strong vote of confidence in Scotland’s financial services
industry from one of the UK’s leading companies.”

First Minister Alex Salmond added: “This is a significant boost for Glasgow
and the wider Scottish financial sector.

“Today’s announcement reinforces our reputation as a leading centre for
financial services and highlights again the competitiveness of our skilled
workforce.”

* Chancellor Alistair Darling today praised the announcement of 800 new jobs
at Tesco Personal Finance in Glasgow as an example of increased competition
in the banking system.

Speaking ahead of a visit to the company’s Edinburgh base, Mr Darling told BBC
Radio 4’s Today programme: “I want to see increased competition in the
(banking) system and that’s why Tesco’s announcement today is important.

“We do need more competition in the system. The last couple of years has seen
a significant reduction in the number of people, both from abroad and
British-based banks, who are lending into the market.

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