Steve Worthington, Professor in the Faculty of Business and Economics at Monash University has analysed the possible move by Coles, a subsidiary of Wesfarmers (ASX: WES) into the banking space. It is believed that Coles has applied to become an Authorised Deposit-taking Institution, following the global trend of supermarkets into financial products which have much higher margins. One example is Tesco in the UK, which launched a personal finance business in 1997 which has grown in size to 3,000 staff and 6.5 million customers. History shows customers are willing to change credit card and insurance providers relatively easily, but it is much harder to change consumers' home loan and transaction account provider. For Coles, this means that a foray into this area will be a long-term game that will concern existing banks, and new entrants will need patience and luck to succeed. (VIEW LINK)
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