Tesco shuts in-store branches

Tesco is scrapping the personal banking branches on trial at 12 of its supermarkets because they are not generating enough business.

The branches were branded by Tesco’s in-house design team, and gave the supermarket’s telephone bank a physical presence. They varied in size, but generally comprised two rooms.

Tesco Personal Finance is transferring some of the functions of the in-store branches to the general customer service desks at supermarkets participating in the pilot.

A Tesco spokeswoman says: “The [in-store branches] didn’t prove to be successful because our customers are attracted by the telephone banking aspect of our operation and think of the bank in those terms.”

A City analyst adds: “People are often not in the mood to open bank accounts or carry out banking transactions when they have bags full of shopping.”

The evolved supermarket customer services desk will allow customers to withdraw cash, deposit checks and cash and get mini-statements.

The video-conferencing facility, which allowed customers to talk to a loan adviser, has been dropped.

TPF finance manager Shona Leslie says: “We still don’t know if this [evolved] pilot will be successful. But if it is we might look to roll it our further.”

TPF is also testing sales of motor and pet insurance products through leaflets available at 50 of its stores.

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