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Tuesday, 23 October, 2001, 10:00 GMT 11:00 UK
Abbey National stays on track
Abbey National
Profits are 'comfortably' ahead of last year's levels
Abbey National has said its profits are still running ahead of last year, and has played down any fears that it may be suffering from rising corporate debt.

In a trading statement, the bank said its wholesale banking business had "seen no significant deterioration in credit quality since the half-year."

But it added "the full impact of the heightened volatility in the US markets remains uncertain."

Abbey said pre-tax profits were still "comfortably" ahead of last year's levels, and said it was on target to meet its cost objectives.

Overall performance had been "solid" for the three months to the end of September.

Housing market in 'good shape'

The bank said the credit quality of its mortgage book remained strong, and said that given the low levels of unemployment and interest rates, "the economic backdrop remains positive."

"We haven't seen any particular sign of a [housing market] downturn yet and October may be even more buoyant than September," said Abbey's chief executive Ian Harley.

"We would expect to see some softening in places, particularly in central London, but overall I think the market is in pretty good shape.

"We're pretty optimistic that this mortgage year will be the biggest ever," he added.

Abbey also announced that its online bank Cahoot had gained an extra 82,000 customers during the past quarter.

The internet business now has more than 250,000 customers and is ahead of its targets for the year.

See also:

23 Feb 01 | Business
Lloyds TSB bid under scrutiny
14 Feb 01 | Business
The battle for Abbey National
11 Apr 01 | Health
Vacuum firm rapped over advert
01 Feb 01 | Business
BoS 'in rival bid' for Abbey
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