Takeaway deals … M&S Bank says it will offer a full range of mortgage terms. Photograph: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images
You’ll soon be able to pop a Marks & Spencer mortgage into your basket after the retailer’s banking arm revealed it is bringing its trusted brand to the world of home loans.
M&S Bank on Friday announced it is taking on the main high street banks and lenders by launching its first mortgages early next year.
While it is too early to say what the rates will be like, M&S Bank says its deals will be available to first-time buyers and home movers (there was no mention of remortgagers), and it is promising “competitive rates across a range of terms”. Full details will be available in the new year.
Sue Fox, the bank’s chief executive, says: “Many of our customers have shopped with M&S their whole lives, feeling the comfort of the brand at every key life event … We’re now in a position to support our customers with the biggest financial decision they’ll ever make – their home.”
However, not everyone will be aware that while M&S Bank is run as a joint venture between Marks & Spencer and HSBC, it is wholly owned by the latter. Its predecessor, M&S Money, was set up by the retailer in 1985 and bought by HSBC in 2004. However, M&S Bank is a separate legal entity with its own banking licence and board.
Of course, M&S isn’t the only big-name retailer in the mortgage market: Sainsbury’s Bank re-entered the sector in April this year after a long absence, while Tesco’s banking arm has been making waves for a while.
While M&S shops are known for their quality fare, you don’t necessarily go there for bargains – but to make a success of its mortgages, the company will need to price competitively. However, David Hollingworth at broker firm London & Country says: “There’s nothing to suggest they won’t come in with a well-priced range of mortgage deals.” He points out that its backer HSBC is well-known for offering competitive rates.
M&S Bank has announced no firm date for the launch yet – all it is saying is “early in 2018”.
M&S mortgages will be available directly from the banking arm and via brokers. The move means M&S Bank will be a “full-service bank” – it already offers current accounts, credit cards, loans, savings accounts, general insurance products and travel money. There are 29 in-store M&S Bank branches, and it services almost 4 million customers.