Abbey National will provide Travelex-branded Bureau de Change operations at its branches early next year, after buying a one-third stake in the foreign exchange operator this week.
Branches will offer customers instant access to foreign currency and traveller’s cheques on a similar line to the Thomas Cook outlets at Midland Bank branches. Branches may also offer Air Miles.
Abbey National may develop joint marketing activities, which includes plans to offer Abbey National services through Travelex’s 190 worldwide outlets – mainly situated in airport terminals.
Travelex’s annual turnover for 1994 was more than £450m.
“Abbey National has some 10 million account holders. It is selling foreign currency to less than three per cent of those customers. This is a big opportunity,” says Travelex general manager of marketing David Steele.
An Abbey National spokesman says the deal will help increase competition for foreign currency through UK banks. “The only two players are Thomas Cook and American Express. This will give another player,” he says.
* Next month sees the nationwide launch of Post Office Counters’ Foreign Exchange Service with a campaign by Robinson Pinkerton Evans.