Co-op to pilot in-store supermarket banking

Co-op to pilot in-store supermarket banking

The UK's Co-operative Group is piloting an in-store banking scheme which will introduce financial self-service facilities across its larger supermarkets.

The 'Co-operative Bank Contact Points' will initially be trialled in five food stores in Nottingham and Brighton.

If the pilot is successful the mutual group plans a roll out across its 250 biggest stores in the UK in late 2009.

The contact points will feature ATM, cheque and cash deposit facilities for current and savings accounts. In addition a phone support point will connect customers to telephone banking services as well as to the Co-op's motor insurance sales teams.

Shoppers will also be able to use touch-screen devices to view products and leave their details for follow-up calls. Some larger stores will also have trained advisers on-hand to deal with questions on mortgages, investments and insurance.

The Co-op says the in-store units will help reach shoppers who are not yet using its financial services. It is thought the move could be particularly beneficial to customers of its Internet and phone bank Smile, enabling them to talk to staff face to face.

"We often find that there are certain transactions, for example mortgages and insurance, where people want to sit down with someone and check through the details," says the group in a statement.

The Co-op follows major UK retailers Tesco, Sainsbury's and Marks & Spencer in offering financial services in store as they look to increase cross-selling.

Earlier this year supermarket giant Tesco set out plans to increase its retail banking services after agreeing a £950 million deal to buy out the personal finance joint venture it established with Royal Bank of Scotland.

Tesco said it would extend the financial services business from a collection of financial products to that of a "full service retail bank", with an increasing number of services offered in stores.

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