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Abbey National announces plans to offer franchises

Abbey National is taking the bold step of offering managers the opportunity to become franchisees of their own branch.

The unprecedented move in the UK&#39s banking sector is a response by the former building society to increased competition of telephone and internet banking.

Abbey divides its 780 branches into 160 local markets. It plans to run a six month trial of the initiative in three of those markets.

Successful applicants will be obliged to pay fees which will be determined by past profitability of that local market.

Abbey will retain all staff on its balance sheet and provide necessary infrastructure such as cash machines. It will also be responsible for the regulatory environment. The branches will control staffing, marketing and the format of the branches.

They will still be required to sell Abbey National financial products, although other companies&#39 products will be allowed to be sold if they meet requirements.

Managing director of retail banking Andrew Pople says: “If we get the uplift in entrepreneurial activity that we hope for, then we should be foolish not to move to full franchises rapidly.”


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