As bank stocks plummet amid the mortgage meltdown, Tesco has promised to offer mortgages as early as next year.

Andrew Higginson, who earlier this year stepped up from finance director to become chief executive of retailing services, has said Tesco will look to offer a current account as soon as possible and will make a move into the stalling UK mortgage market “in due course”, with next year a possibility.

“We have never found a way to make money on terms that are acceptable to us and looking at the markets today we can see why, but consumers can trust Tesco to finance itself prudently,” he told The Grocer.

Tesco this summer bought out the 50% stake held by Royal Bank of Scotland in the duo's Tesco Personal Finance joint venture for £950m.

“The opportunities in banking are bigger now than when we first announced the [RBS] deal,” Higginson told The Independent. "Customers are looking for a brand that they can trust.”

The news comes after Tesco this week announced a 4% hike in like-for-like sales in the UK as global sales hit £28.1bn.

Its TPF joint venture generated a 34% surge in profits to £71m, to be split between the supermarket giant and RBS.

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