Spanish bank claims HBOS bid for Abbey would lead to job cuts

Banco
Santander Central Hispano, the Spanish bank bidding for Abbey National,
believes a rival takeover bid by HBOS would mean up to 10,000 job losses and a
major branch closure programme, according to newspaper reports.

Santander’s
£8.1bn recommended offer would also involve large job losses, but the Spanish
bank expects to maintain Abbey’s 741-strong branch network, finding savings
instead in technology and processing operations.

The
Spanish bank has not finalised its expected job losses, but the total over four
years is likely to be less than 10 per cent of Abbey’s 25,000 UK staff.

About
a third of Abbey’s British employees work in back office processing, compared
to an average of about 25 per cent for UK banks. Santander, which three years
ago announced the closure of 1,000 Spanish branches, claims a ratio of about 25
per cent.

HBOS,
which earlier this week announced that it was considering bidding for Abbey,
employs 40,000 staff in UK retail banking.

An
HBOS spokesman told The Daily Telegraph: "There is a long way to go in the
process. We have pointed out that if we proceed with a bid, we will do so on a
stakeholder-friendly basis."

By Mike Berry

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