UK bank Lloyds TSB is to offer gas, electricity and telephone services to its current account customers through its network of high street branches. The bank is also reportedly eyeing the outstanding majority stake in Goldfish, the financial services firm operated by UK energy firm Centrica, that it doesn't already own.
The new energy service, called Ideal, has already been piloted in Chester and Wolverhampton and will be available at all branches by 15 August.
Customers siging up to the services will receive one monthly bill combining the charges for each service they choose.
Peter Ayliffe, group executive director, UK retail banking, Lloyds TSB, claims that UK consumers are paying over the odds for these essential services and the bank is using its buying power to get them a better deal.
"Our customers have told us this is exactly the kind of service they want and by offering them a combined bill paid by direct debit, we're also making their lives simpler," says Ayliffe.
Gas and electricity services will be supplied by ScottishPower while Cable & Wireless (C&W) is managing the telecoms service using its Carrier Pre-Select (CPS) technology.
CPS allows consumers to select a new telecoms service without having to dial PIN codes or install new equipment. C&W says the technology is allowing firms to enter the residential telecoms market for the first time, with the aim of breaking BT's 70 per cent share of the market.
Supermarket chain Tesco is using the same technology for its Tesco Telecom service, due to launch this summer.
Lloyds TSB is the first bank in the UK to supply utility services to customers.
According to a report in the Financial Times, the UK bank may also be looking to acquire the remaining 70% stake in Goldfish from joint venture partner Centrica. The UK energy firm has reiterated its plans to offload the unit if it fails to reach break-even by the end of the year.