Major overhaul for Abbey National

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New chief executive Luqman Arnold set out his priorities for the next six months at the same time as announcing half-year losses of £144 million.

he company, which last month axed ten jobs in Jersey when it closed its investment service Inscape Offshore, made losses of £984 million in 2002 because of one-off costs at its corporate lending arm and is in the early stages of a three-year restructuring programme designed to save £200 million a year.

his has already resulted in the announcement of 1,000 job losses overall and the company warned it was also in the early stages of considering transferring some telephone and processing operations to India.

t did not say how many jobs could be affected by the move.

r Arnold added the first part of the company’s overhaul had gone to plan, with profits for Abbey’s core high street business slightly better than indicated six weeks ago at £588 million.

he company wants to focus on personal financial services and has now offloaded £34.

billion worth of assets in international and non-core operations.

bbey, which employs around 25,000 people and has 750 branches, has also pledged to carry out a full brand relaunch and to step up marketing and advertising activity, although it did not disclose details.

ther priorities include a review of products and services, coupled with investment in training and ‘upskilling’ of staff who deal with customers.

r Arnold believed there were market segments, including general insurance, investment products and unsecured lending, where the company had under-performed.

e said: ‘This represents an opportunity within our power to grasp.

We are investing in our people, in our systems, in our products, brand and service – and we are clear about what we are trying to deliver.

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