Tesco Bank embarks on hiring spree ahead of current account launch

Tesco Bank embarks on hiring spree ahead of current account launch

Tesco Bank has begun recruiting 300 staffers as it gears up to finally launch its current account next year.

Supermarket giant Tesco has been threatening to muscle in on the UK's current account market ever since buying out partner RBS in 2008 and now, after a series of false starts, the service is expected to be ready by the middle of next year.

Chief executive Benny Higgins insisted to reporters that there has not been any delay because Tesco Bank always intended to wait until its existing 6.8 million customers had been moved from RBS systems - which have recently suffered high profile failures - to a new Fiserv technology platform.

Says Higgins: "At the very outset when we started building the bank five years ago we had to make choices about the core-infrastructure. We chose modern flexible systems, but first and foremost we chose a system that is tried and tested. It has been a Herculean task building it.

"The first three-and-half-years heralded the biggest transformation, the biggest build I have ever been involved in and that was to replace RBS dependency. And it was only once we completed that, we turned our attention to current accounts.

"It is very important customers are served well and IT is an essential part of serving them well."

In the past Tesco has also claimed that it was waiting for the introduction of an industry-wide account-switching system, which went live in September, and should make it easier for customers to move to the new provider.

Based in Glasgow and Edinburgh, the 300 new permanent jobs will mostly be full time. The bank is also intending to recruit another 300 staffers in the near future, taking the total number of new roles to 600 over two years.

Tesco is also stressing that it won't be offering sales incentives - an issue currently in the news thanks to a £28 million fine imposed by the FCA today on Lloyds for "serious failings" in relation to bonus schemes for sales staff.

The incentive schemes at Lloyds led to a serious risk that branch sales staff were put under pressure to hit targets to get a bonus or avoid being demoted, rather than focus on what consumers may need or want. In one instance an adviser sold payment protection products to himself, his wife and a colleague to prevent himself from being demoted.

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