Abbey Nat to cut one third of retail marketers

Abbey National, the high street bank, is planning to make nearly a third of its 317-strong retail bank marketing team redundant.

While the bank refuses to name names, it is understood that retail insurance marketing director George Haslem may be one of those in line to lose his job.

An Abbey National spokeswoman says that 55 of 277 marketers based at the bank’s Milton Keynes office have been warned that their jobs are at risk, while the entire 40-strong team handling insurance services, based in Bradford and run by Haslem, is to go. Abbey National claims all those affected are being offered alternative employment within the group.

The spokeswoman says: “We are deduplicating and delayering jobs, and trying to bring the marketing department together geographically. We are looking at various ways to reorganise the marketing function.” The changes will be announced shortly.

She says reports that the bank has put First National, its consumer credit business, up for sale are “purely speculation”. First National, which last year reported profits of &£92m, should realise about &£800m, according to City analysts. It arranges financing for consumers with poor credit records, so that they can buy products such as cars, double glazing and electrical goods.

Abbey National is being forced to cut costs after a 34 per cent fall in profits to &£697m last year. It also had to write off &£272m of bad loans and private equity investments, including &£95m in failed US energy company Enron. Earlier this summer, Abbey National chief executive Ian Harley resigned.

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