Santander UK plc is a British bank, wholly owned by the Spanish Santander Group. Santander UK plc manages its affairs autonomously, with its own local management team, responsible solely for its performance. Santander UK is one of the UK's leading personal financial services companies and one of the largest providers of mortgages and savings in the UK. The bank has circa 20,000 employees, 14 million active customers, with almost 1,010 branches and 50 corporate business centres.
|Public limited company|
|Industry||Finance and Insurance|
|Founded||11 January 2010|
|Headquarters||London, England, UK|
|Baroness Vadera, Chairwoman
Nathan Bostock, CEO
|Revenue||£4.573 billion (2015)|
|£1.342 billion (2015)|
|£962 million (2015)|
Number of employees
Santander Corporate and Commercial Banking
Santander Private Banking
|Subsidiaries||Abbey National Treasury Services
The bank, with its head office in the London Borough of Camden, was established on 11 January 2010 when Abbey National plc was combined with the savings business and branches of Bradford & Bingley plc, and renamed Santander UK plc. Alliance & Leicester plc merged into the renamed business in May 2010.
Between 2007 and 2010, Santander was ranked as worst bank for customer service in the J. D. Power UK Retail Banking Satisfaction Study. However, its '123' product range was ranked third best in the UK in 2013 and in a moneysavingexpert.com poll in 2014 customers ranked their satisfaction higher than with any of other main high street banks.
In October 2011, Moody's downgraded the credit rating of 12 UK financial firms including Santander UK, blaming financial weakness. In June 2012, Moody rated Santander UK as being in a more financially healthy position than its parent company, Banco Santander. Less than 1% of Santander UK's business is held abroad.
The bank has its origins in three constituent companies—Abbey National, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley—all former mutual building societies. Abbey National, trading as Abbey, had been bought by the Santander Group in 2004 for £9 billion. Santander purchased Alliance & Leicester in mid-September 2008, followed by the branches and savings business of Bradford & Bingley which had been nationalised by HM Government during the 2008 banking crisis.
Abbey National and the savings business and branches of Bradford & Bingley were rebranded as Santander on 11 January 2010, and Abbey National plc was renamed Santander UK plc. Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton unveiled the first rebranded Santander branch that day in central London. A further 300 Abbey and Bradford & Bingley branches in London and south east England were rebranded that day, with branches in the rest of the UK following by the end of the month, by which time there were 1,045 Santander branches. Alliance & Leicester plc merged into the bank on 28 May 2010, and was rebranded by the end of the year.
The bank retained the London headquarters of Abbey National and renamed other regional buildings under its own name. The Abbey name was retained initially for Abbey International (now Santander Private Banking), and Abbey for Intermediaries (now Santander for Intermediaries), the division of the bank offering Abbey branded mortgages provided by Santander UK plc. The charitable divisions of Abbey, Bradford & Bingley and Alliance & Leicester were brought together to form the Santander Foundation.
Due to the three-way merger, Santander was in the unusual position of having more than one branch in many British high streets. In Northumberland Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, for example, there were three branches, which were formerly Abbey, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley respectively. Plymouth city centre had four branches within 300 metres, two of which were adjacent to each other. In 2012, the bank began to reduce the number of duplicate branches, identifying 56 that would close. Staff in the branches selected for closure were moved to other nearby branches.
Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank merged into Santander's business banking division, Santander Corporate Banking, in 2009.
On 9 March 2010, Santander sold the investment and asset management business James Hay to IFG Group for £35 million. Later in the year, it was confirmed on 4 August that Santander would purchase the branches of The Royal Bank of Scotland in England and Wales, and the branches of NatWest in Scotland as part of a divestment of the business by The Royal Bank of Scotland Group. The deal collapsed on 12 October 2012.
Santander has frequently been rated the worst bank in the UK for customer service, although by July 2011 had sought to improve, notably by returning call centre operations to the UK from India. During 2011 the bank put aside £538m to cover claims from customers for the misselling of payment protection insurance (PPI), as did many other UK banks.
In December 2012, Santander reached an agreement to sell its store card business, which includes branded cards issued for retailers including Topshop, House of Fraser and Debenhams, to SAV Credit. The sale was completed on 13 May 2013, though Santander continued to service accounts on behalf of SAV Credit until 1 April 2014.
During 2014, the bank considered an initial public offering (IPO), expected to be completed within two years. In November 2014, the chief executive of the Santander Group admitted that an IPO would not be forthcoming until market conditions improved. This view was repeated in July 2015.
The bank provides a full range of personal, business and corporate accounts, including current accounts, mortgages, credit products and savings and investments. Santander operate online banking services, including mobile apps, and operate an internet-only banking division branded Cahoot. Mortgages are also provided through Santander for Intermediaries, a division of the bank used by brokers.
Santander's Corporate and Commercial Banking division operates from a number of regional business banking centres across the UK. In May 2013, Ana Botin announced plans to double the number of centres to 70 within three years.
Santander UK is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by both the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. It is a member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, UK Payments Administration, Bankers' Automated Clearing Services (BACS), the Faster Payments Service, the Clearing House Automated Payment System (CHAPS), the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company, the British Bankers' Association and subscribes to the Lending Code.
Six-digit account sort codes are used in the range between 09-00-xx to 09-19-xx. Sort codes for accounts formerly held by Alliance & Leicester use the range 09-01-31 to 09-01-36.
In 2009 Santander launched the UK's first current account without fees (including unauthorised overdrafts) for its current and future mortgage customers. Customers are not charged fees for using Santander's automated teller machines in Spain, which traditionally would incur fees for transactions in a foreign currency.
Santander has sponsored the McLaren Formula One team since 2007, and is also the title sponsor of the British Grand Prix. Santander said its sponsorship of McLaren had raised its brand awareness in the UK from 20 to 82 percent. The bank announced a second team sponsorship, with Scuderia Ferrari, in 2009.
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- "RBS sale of 316 branches to Santander collapses". BBC News. 12 October 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
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- Steve Slater (20 December 2012). "Santander UK to sell UK store cards portfolio". Reuters. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
- "SAV Credit completes acquisition of Santanders Retail Co-Brand Credit Card / Point-Of-Sale Finance Business". SAV Credit. 13 May 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- Weir, Keith (29 September 2014). "Santander UK picks Bostock as CEO to lead London float". Reuters. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
- Aguado, Jesus; White, Sarah (4 November 2014). "Spain's Santander does not expect UK unit IPO in 2015 - CEO". Reuters. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
- Slater, Steve (28 July 2015). "Santander UK finance chief quits as bank keeps IPO plans on ice". Reuters. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- Greig Cameron (31 May 2013). "Santander chief plans more Scots branches". The Herald. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
- "18 Month Fixed Rate Bond". Santander UK. May 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
- "Our members". Cheque and Credit Clearing Company. 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- "Subscribers". Lending Standards Board. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
- "Santander International Expands Services in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man". Jersey Finance. 24 October 2017. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
- Santander launches current account with no fees or penalty charges Jacquie Bowser. Brand Republic. 20 November 2009
- Ian Pollock (10 January 2010). "Will Santander challenge the big banks?". BBC News. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
- "Santander sponsorship renewal boosts McLaren". Reuters. 23 January 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
- "Santander extends McLaren partnership". Formula One. 14 September 2009. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- "Corporation Sponsorship". Santander. 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
- "Rory McIlroy to sign deal with Santander". Belfast Telegraph. 22 September 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- "Santander to take over sponsorship of 'Boris bikes' scheme". BBC News. 27 February 2015. Retrieved 27 February 2015.