The Abbey National decision, which is expected to result in more than 700 redundancies from among FNMF's 1000 staff, followed strenuous efforts by the bank to sell the business as a going concern.
Abbey had decided to sell its First National companies – including the motor finance business - as part of a strategic focus on personal financial services – a restructuring which was launched in November 2002.
The majority of First National's businesses were sold to GE Consumer Finance – with the deal being completed on 10 April. But it was GE's insistence that the FNMF be decoupled from that deal which sent strong signals to the market place, according to one market insider.
'It is a large business – and although GE, Capital Bank and Black Horse were all reportedly interested in the business – there wasn't the will in the market place to take on that sort of commitment in the present market conditions.”