Page 6: Conclusion
It is now clear that Abbey National made the right decision in 1989. The company’s pre-tax profit in 1995 was £1.026 billion - more than double 1989’s figure of £501 million. At 30th June 1995, Abbey National is the fifth largest bank in the UK, with assets of over £100 billion.
Abbey National invested in a huge branch modernisation programme after conversion. Its 12.5 million customers now do business through a network of 867 bright and spacious branches, with offices where they can discuss their affairs in complete privacy with specialist financial advisers. They can also make transactions through over 1500 Abbeylink cash point machines, or through the company’s telephone banking service. Abbey National has also invested in the latest technology, which makes processing transactions faster and more accurate than ever before.
Abbey National staff can call up information about customers’ accounts and produce details of a range of financial products in an instant. The company uses technology to speed up processing work, leaving staff free to concentrate on customer service rather than administration. In 1992 Abbey National acquired Scottish Mutual Assurance plc, which sells life assurance and pension products through independent financial advisers, and used its expertise to launch Abbey National Life in 1993. Abbey National Life products are now sold through all Abbey National branches and by Abbey National Direct, the company’s telephone sales operation.
Abbey National’s Treasury & Offshore operations continue to provide wholesale funding for its products, and to manage the Group’s liquidity. In 1994 Abbey National plc was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States. This gives Treasury wider access to the US capital markets at lower cost. On 10 July 1995 Abbey National and National & Provincial Building Society reached agreement on the terms of a merger which was unanimously recommended by the board of N&P to its members. N&P’s members approved the merger at a Special General Meeting in April 1996 and in June the merger was confirmed by the Building Societies Commission (BSC). With the satisfaction of a number of other conditions, the merger took place on 5th August 1996.
Abbey National is continuing to expand, ensuring that it offers its customers tailor-made services to meet all of their personal financial needs. The company has a ‘mission statement’ which sums up its aims and values. This says that Abbey National’s ‘vision’ for the future is:
'To be the outstanding financial services company in the UK'
The company is working hard to achieve this vision - converting to a plc in 1989 was an important step along the way.