The sale of First National is a cornerstone of Abbey National's strategy of disposing of non-core assets. FN comprises three businesses, a consumer finance company Tricity Finance, a sub-prime lending /remortgaging business, and the First National Motor Finance unit.
The Abbey National sale follows a difficult trading period for its First National subsidiary. FN had suffered a 37 per cent downturn in profits to £92m in 2001 but has recovered in the first half of 2002.
First National Motor Finance provides vehicle finance for more than 650,000 customers and has assets in excess of £2.2bn.
Key business partners in motor retailing include the MG Rover dealer network, Dutton Forshaw, Caffyns and Reg Vardy.