Sainsbury’s is to wind down its banking division as it continues to focus on its core food business.
The supermarket said it planned a “phased withdrawal” from its core banking business, but said the 1.9 million customers of the service would see no immediate changes.
Sainsbury’s Bank currently offers loans, credit cards and savings accounts.
Rival Tesco is also reported to be looking to sell its banking business.
Banks including HSBC, Barclays and Lloyds have all been named as possible bidders for Tesco Bank.
Sainsbury’s offered no time frame for the exit from banking and said it would be “business as usual for now”.
The retailer said products could be outsourced to other providers, noting that its insurance policies are currently offered via third parties. Similarly, its Argos subsidiary offers credit cards and loans to around 2.1 million customers.
“We have been clear since we launched our food first strategy in 2020 that we would concentrate our efforts on our core retail businesses and today’s announcement reflects that strategic focus,” said Sainsbury’s chief executive Simon Roberts.
“We will, of course, communicate directly to customers well in advance of any changes to their products and services.”
But the company stressed that nothing would immediately change for current or future customers of Sainsbury’s Bank, as well as Argos financial services.
Sainsbury’s Bank started as a joint venture with the Bank of Scotland in 1997, before Sainsbury’s took full ownership in 2014 – paying £248m for the remaining 50% stake of the business.