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A&L moves business team; Switch will create 40 jobs at Bootle.

Byline: TONY McDONOUGH Business Staff

ALLIANCE & Leicester has moved its business account management team from Leicester to Merseyside in a bid to win bigger customers.

Previously A&L has targeted firms with turnovers of less than pounds 1m but is now aiming to challenge the big four high street banks by targeting businesses with turnovers up to pounds 10m.

Richard Banks, managing director of the company's wholesale banking division, told the Daily Post: ``Our strategy is now to refocus on mid range small and medium enterprises.

``The message that we are an alternative to the big four is now starting to get through and we have now relocated our business account management team to Bootle bringing 40 new jobs. ''

Those 40 people join around 2, 000 employees already at A&L's Bootle site, formerly known as Girobank and now the heart of the group's commercial banking operation which makes up the main rump of the wholesale division.

Yesterday the group published its interim results which revealed commercial banking had risen 24% in pre-tax profits to pounds 48m.

During the first half of 2004 more than 7, 700 new business accounts were opened -- 70% up on the same period in 2003. Cash sales to financial institutions in the first half of 2004 stood at pounds 23. 5bn -- 21% higher than the same period last year.

The company claims the growth in cash sales had more than offset the reduction in demand from the Post Office resulting from an increasing number of benefit payments being paid directly into bank accounts.

The group results showed A&L remains on track to hit its key target for 2004 as growth across its business helped half-year profits edge up 2% to pounds 268m.

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A&L managing director Richard Banks
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 28, 2004
Words:296
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