NatWest pounds 347m finance sale

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ABBEY NATIONAL yesterday bought three consumer finance business from National Westminster Bank for pounds 347m, in its first major deal since Ian Harley succeeded Peter Birch as chief executive at the start of the year. The three businesses are Lombard Motor Finance, which is active in the retail motor trade, Lombard Tricity, which supplies hire purchase for retail chains, and Lombard Business Equipment Leasing.

NatWest said it had decided for strategic reasons to get out of these businesses, which operate through intermediaries, to concentrate on operations where it has a direct relationship with customers.