Abbey’s First National starts hunt for five senior marketers

First National Bank, the Abbey National-owned finance house, is to recruit at least five senior marketers for its first group marketing department.

John Easden, previously First National’s associate marketing director, was appointed to the new role of group marketing director last week, reporting to managing director Philip George.

Easden will recruit a “team of five or more high-level experts” to work with him on a co-ordinated strategy for the group’s four divisions, which employ 90 marketing staff, each with its own marketing director.

First National offers loans for a broad range of items, which it markets through partnerships with “intermediaries” including Dixons, ScottishPower and Anglian Windows. The consumer relationship has traditionally been with the intermediary from which they buy the product, rather than the finance house which provides the loan to fund it.

Easden says: “We are looking to market ourselves more to consumers by developing a strong brand. We will target new customers by cross-selling products between our different divisions and also by encouraging intermediaries to get together.”

First National recently unveiled a new corporate identity, created by Circle Design Consultants.

The creation of the group marketing department follows First National’s acquisition last year of three businesses from Lombard, the NatWest-owned finance house.

The deal doubled the size of First National and led to a restructure of the operation into four divisions: consumer, retail, motor and business.

Helen Priestley has been appointed marketing director for the motor division. Formerly head of marketing for Bupa Hospitals, Priestley reports to Keith Horlick, executive director for motor finance.

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