Page last updated at 06:50 GMT, Monday, 30 March 2009 07:50 UK

Tesco plans 30 new bank branches

Tesco sign
Tesco plans to start offering current accounts within two years

Tesco plans to open 30 bank branches in its stores by the end of 2009 as it expands its personal finance brand.

There has been a trial in Glasgow since 2006. New branches will open next month in Blackpool, Coventry and Bristol.

Tesco currently offers insurance, credit cards, loans and savings accounts and plans to start offering current accounts within two years.

It comes as a survey shows that jobs in financial services are being cut at the fastest rate since 1993.

A balance of 40% more companies reported a fall in staff numbers than a rise, in figures covering the three months to the beginning of March from the employers' group, the CBI.

'Heavy cuts'

While 9% of financial services companies reported growth in the amount of business they were doing, 56% said volumes had fallen, giving a negative balance of 47%.

It was the sixth consecutive quarter of negative balance.

"Sharp drops in revenues and profitability are causing continued suffering, while business volumes remain very weak," said Ian McCafferty, chief economic adviser to the CBI.

"Firms are making heavy cuts to staff numbers and investment plans to make savings and reflect weak demand."

Deposits doubled

Tesco set up its financial services division as a joint venture with Royal Bank of Scotland 11 years ago.

It bought RBS' stake for £950m in July 2008.

Tesco announced earlier in March that the amount of money deposited in its savings accounts had nearly doubled over the past six months, with more accounts opened in December 2008 than in the whole of 2007.

It also announced plans to recruit more than 200 staff to work in the Edinburgh headquarters of its personal finance arm.



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