Abbey chief outlines plan to improve results

26 February 2004
The chief executive of the Abbey banking group, Luqman Arnold, has laid out the plans the company will put into practice as it attempts to recover from the record losses announced earlier this week.

Pre-tax losses of £686bn were recorded, but Mr. Arnold insisted that by the end of this year the bank would be back in the black.

Speaking on BBC News 24's 'Business Today,' Mr. Arnold said: "What we have done in this period is that we have dealt with the big risk issues."

"We have made huge advances in terms of hiring more people, the training and the system to give customers not only better service, but also a better deal. We have laid those foundations, but the trouble is that foundations are never visible."

Mr. Arnold continued: "The steps we have taken on the risk side have released capital for use by the company. Our capital ratios are much stronger now than they were before. What we do not lack is a customer franchise or the range of products or the capital to do what we have to do."

"We want the customers to say by the end of this year to say that we are really different. Because of all the things we are doing, we would hope that that would translate into a return to growth in the second part of this year."

Mr. Arnold concluded that as far as when the company would be profitable again he saw 'absolutely no reason why we should not be in the black this year.'