The last few months have seen some dire news hitting the headlines involving Tesco. With alleged supplier mistreatment stories joining those surrounding alleged concerns over its accounting practices, it seems there has been disappointment and setbacks at every turn.

However, following news of store closures up and down the country comes news that Tesco Bank is now planning to make significant inroads into the UK mortgage market. Many sources have reported that the bank will begin to sell mortgages through a network of intermediaries. This is likely to occur in the early part of 2016 if all goes according to plan.

How long has Tesco Bank been providing mortgages so far?

Their track record in this area of their business is two years. However while they have made inroads into the mortgage market, they have been, as their chief executive Benny Higgins states, “modest” in size.

According to their data, more than half of Tesco customers are choosing to get their mortgages through brokers. Since the current mortgage business at Tesco Bank doesn’t allow for this process, they are missing out on the potential to bring in many more customers. They believe that by offering mortgages through intermediaries, they can vastly increase the number of customers they can serve in this way.

Could Tesco Bank outshine the grocery business?

In many ways it already has. Tesco Bank has been in place since 1997 and in the intervening years it has performed well in many areas. It increased its profits in the most recent financial year, even as Tesco itself was struggling. The expansion of the mortgage part of Tesco Bank looks set to be a promising one, and many will be watching closely to see what the outcome is.

Over £1 billion already lent in mortgages

To date it has been a little under two-and-a-half years since Tesco Bank first began to offer mortgages. It clearly wants to expand in this part of the market and offering mortgages via intermediaries seems to be the way to do it.

Furthermore the mortgage market is heating up in a major way at the moment. While Tesco Bank won’t be able to expand for another year at least given the fact they have to get the infrastructure in place to offer these mortgages, they clearly want to be more competitive than they are at present. As such, expanding their offerings will be the smartest way to do that.

Mr Higgins stated they are currently working in under 10% of the available market. Clearly there could be major strides in this area if Tesco customers start buying their mortgages from the bank as well as their groceries from the store. While Tesco Bank is a separate entity to the grocery business, it certainly makes a difference to see some encouraging news coming from their direction for once. Whether we will see a huge leap forward in lending by Tesco Bank come next year or not, we shall have to wait and see.

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