Post Office branches are to be given a new lease of life as providers of a wide range of financial services, including personal loans, credit cards, savings and life assurance.
The first product to be launched will be a personal loan later this year. It is understood the products will be backed by a variety of mainstream financial brands, emulating the entry of supermarkets into financial services. Post Office branches already sell travel insurance and foreign currency.
It will also be test marketing a pay-as-you-go internet access service with easyInternetCafé.
Chief executive Allan Leighton says the launches will be supported by advertising and marketing campaigns. Publicis is working on a national television campaign highlighting the Post Office’s new range of services. It will break later this year.
Post Office branches already offer basic bank accounts to allow for state benefits to be paid and retrieved electronically, and can offer automated banking to customers of some high street banks. Last July, Standard Life stopped selling stakeholder pensions through Post Office branches after an outlay of &£1m in marketing and systems attracted only 2,000 sales over 15 months.
The Post Office network has over 18,000 branches across the UK.