Tesco Bank, the financial services unit of the world's third-largest retailer, has not yet decided when to start selling checking accounts or mortgages, Benny Higgins, the bank's chief executive, told lawmakers Wednesday.

Tesco PLC, which last year bought Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC's share of their venture, will use its 2,300 U.K. supermarkets, including 1,000 in town centers, rather than buy branches sold by competitors, Higgins told the Scottish parliament's Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee.

"We have a large physical network and a relationship with 15 million households," Higgins said. "Research shows 70% of people would like to bank where they shop."

Tesco, which started its venture with Royal Bank of Scotland in 1997, has 8% of the U.K. credit card market and 4% of the car insurance market, according to Higgins.

It has 2.4 million Tesco-branded credit cards outside the United Kingdom.

Tesco, of Cheshunt outside London, has more selling space outside Britain than in its domestic market.

Selling checking accounts and mortgages is the bank's next priority, Higgins said.

"We are seeking to develop a business that follows the customer and rewards loyalty, and it is a challenge we are up for," he said. "Our focus initially is to serve the customers we already have."

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.