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Co-operative Group To Expand Banking Presence

The Co-operative Bank, part of the group's Co-operative Financial Services division, has decided to extend credit to firms and households even as rivals pull back

In a move to take advantage of competitors’ problems and grow in the banking sector, the UK-based Co-operative Group has launched bank branches in two of its 5,000 retail outlets as part of a pilot scheme – reported Telegraph.co.uk.

Reportedly, industry analysts and politicians are in favour of mid-size players entering into banking sector in a big way to improve consumer choice. The Financial Services Authority has been flooded with applications for licences from various banks.

Neville Richardson, chief executive of CFS, said: “There will be a change in the landscape, which is an opportunity for an organisation like ours – strong in financial services and retail. Co-op Bank is in a strong position because of its prudent lending in the past. Group bank profits rose 25.8% to £24.9 million due to a sharp recovery in wholesale banking and lower restructuring costs. The wholesale division turned a £19.1 million loss into a £13.4 million profit as low reliance on wholesale funding has enabled us to generate higher interest in current markets from excess retail funding. The bank is wholly funded by customer deposits,” reported the newspaper.