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UK banks lose out as US giant collapses

Several UK banks, including Abbey National and Barclays, have suffered losses of tens of millions of pounds due to the collapse of US energy giant Enron.

Abbey, the UK&#39s second-biggest mortgage lender and owner of Scottish Mutual and Scottish Provident, admitted this week that it has been forced to write off £95m of the £115m it has lent Enron while Barclays&#39 exposure is estimated to be at least £50m.

Royal Bank of Scotland is understood to have lost around £50m while National Australia Bank – owner of UK banks Clydesdale and Yorkshire – says its exposure is around £140m ($200m). The banks claim to be unconcerned by the impact of Enron&#39s demise, saying their exposure is insignificant compared with other companies.

An Abbey spokesman says: “We only have a very small percentage of Enron&#39s total exposure, probably less than 1 per cent. It will be interesting to see which banks have lost what when the final tally comes in.”

A Barclays spokeswoman says: “We have put out a trading statement this week and it does not mention Enron because we consider the loss to be fairly insignificant.”

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