Australian grocery retailing giant Coles will tackle the major 4 banks head on as it seeks a formal banking licence. With a national population of some 22 million and a comparatively stable economy, the time for such a move obviously looks right for Coles. But what are the consequences for a food and grocery expert moving into the banking sector? Will it attract across its loyal grocery customers or will they feel safer with the traditional ‘Big Four’ banks? Will the brand image established in grocery be enough to establish this new venture? And of critical importance, does it have the operational infrastructure to compete in this highly cut-throat financial market? So why is Coles moving into banking; and where is it tacking its lead from? Clearly the grocery market is limited and they cannot go much further in terms of developing sites or gaining a bigger share of the supermarket business, so financial services makes some sense. Moreover, there are success stories to learn from Tesco and Sainsbury’s in the UK; and it is all the better when your key staff have experience from the British companies.