Santander UK

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Santander UK plc
Public limited company
Industry Finance and Insurance
Founded 11 January 2010
Headquarters London, England, UK
Key people
Lord Burns, Chairman
Nathan Bostock, CEO
Products Financial Services
Revenue £4.029 billion (2013)[1]
£1.139 billion (2013)[1]
£921 million (2013)[1]
Number of employees
Parent Santander Group
Divisions Cahoot
Santander Corporate and Commercial Banking
Subsidiaries Abbey National Treasury Services
Cater Allen
Santander Private Banking
Slogan A bank for your ideas

Santander UK plc is a United Kingdom 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.

The bank, with its head office in the London Borough of Camden,[2][3] 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 poll in 2014 customers ranked their satisfaction higher than with any of other main high street banks.[4][5][6]

In October 2011, Moody's downgraded the credit rating of 12 UK financial firms including Santander UK, blaming financial weakness.[7] 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.[8]



The three constituent companies—Abbey National, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley—had roots dating back to 1849 as mutual building societies.

The National Freehold Land Society was established by two Liberal Members of Parliament, Sir Joshua Walmsley and Richard Cobden, in 1849. The Abbey Road & St. John's Wood Permanent Benefit Building Society was founded in 1874, based in a Baptist church on Abbey Road in Kilburn. The Abbey National Building Society was formed following the merger in 1944 of what had become Abbey Road Building Society (already the second largest) and National Building Society (at the time the sixth largest).[9] It was the first to demutualise in 1989.

Bradford & Bingley Building Society was formed in 1964 as a result of the merger of the Bradford Equitable Building Society and the Bingley Permanent Building Society, both of which had been established in 1851.[10] It was the last to demutualise, against the board's recommendation, in 2000.

Alliance & Leicester Building Society had its roots in the formation of the Leicester Permanent Benefit Society in 1852 [11] which had changed its name to the Leicester Permanent Building Society by the time it started trading in 1853.[12] The Leicester Building Society (which it had become in 1974 on its merger with the Leicester Temperance Building Society) merged with the Alliance (originally Brighton and Sussex) Building Society in 1985 and subsequently demutualised in 1997.[13]


Santander UK head office, Triton Square, London

Abbey National plc, trading as Abbey, was purchased by the Santander Group in 2004 for £9 billion. Santander purchased Alliance & Leicester in mid-September 2008,[14] followed by the branches and savings business of Bradford & Bingley which had been nationalised by HM Government during the 2008 banking crisis.[15]

Santander UK plc was formed by the renaming of Abbey National plc which also included the branch network and savings business of Bradford & Bingley plc on 11 January 2010. 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.[16] Alliance & Leicester plc merged into the bank on 28 May 2010,[17] and was rebranded by the end of the year.[18]

The bank retained the London headquarters of Abbey National and renamed other regional buildings under its own name.[19] 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.[20] The charitable divisions of Abbey, Bradford & Bingley and Alliance & Leicester were brought together to form the Santander Foundation.[21]

A rebranded branch of Santander in Peterborough

Due to the three-way merger, Santander has the unusual position of having more than one branch in many British high streets. In Northumerland Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, for example, there are three branches, which were formerly Abbey, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley respectively. Plymouth city centre has four branches within 300 metres, two of which are 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 would be moved to other nearby branches.[22]

Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank merged into Santander's business banking division, Santander Corporate Banking, in 2009.[23]

Recent years[edit]

On 9 March 2010, Santander sold the investment and asset management business James Hay to IFG Group for £35 million.[24]

On 4 August 2010 it was confirmed that Santander would be purchasing the ex-Williams & Glyn's Bank branded English branches of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, as well as the National Westminster Bank branches in Scotland, after much speculation.[25] The deal collapsed on 12 October 2012.[26]

In 2011 Santander put aside £538m to cover claims from customers for the misselling of payment protection insurance (PPI).[27]

Santander has frequently been rated the worst bank in the UK for customer service,[28] although by July 2011 had sought to improve, notably by returning call centre operations to the UK from India.[29]

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.[30] The sale was completed on 13 May 2013, though Santander continued to service accounts on behalf of SAV Credit until 1 April 2014.[31]

During 2014, the bank considered a initial public offering (IPO), expected to be completed within two years.[32] In November 2014, the chief executive of the Santander Group admitted that an IPO would not be forthcoming until market conditions improved.[33] This view was repeated in July 2015.[34]


A branch of Santander on Briggate, Leeds

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.[35]

Santander UK is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by both the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.[36] 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 and the British Bankers' Association.[37]

The bank operates a branch on the Isle of Man, which is licensed by the Financial Supervision Commission.[36] Santander's offshore banking subsidiary Santander Private Banking operates in Jersey.

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.[38] 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.[39]


Santander has sponsored the McLaren Formula One team since 2007,[40] 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.[41] The bank announced a second team sponsorship, with Scuderia Ferrari, in 2009.[42]

Golfer Rory McIlroy signed a sponsorship agreement with the bank in September 2011,[43] and in 2013 it was announced that British athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill would become a brand ambassador.

In February 2015, Santander was announced as the new sponsor of Transport for London's bicycle hire scheme, branded as Santander Cycles. Santander replaced Barclays as title sponsor.[44]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Official Statements". Santander UK plc. 16 July 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  2. ^ "Ward Map." London Borough of Camden. Retrieved on 28 May 2014.
  3. ^ "Registered Office details" (Archive). Santander UK. Retrieved on 28 May 2014. "Santander UK plc. Registered Office: 2 Triton Square, Regent’s Place, London NW1 3AN. United Kingdom"
  4. ^ Christie, Sophie (21 August 2013). "How good is your bank's customer service?". Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "How do you rate your bank account?". 2 February 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  6. ^ "Financial Research Survey". 16 July 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  7. ^ "UK financial firms downgraded by Moody's rating agency". BBC News. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  8. ^ "Q&A: Is Santander UK a safe bank?". BBC News. 9 June 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  9. ^ Extract from Building Societies Yearbook 2009/10 (pp.126 & 152) Building Societies Association (retrieved 17 November 2009)
  10. ^ "Bradford & Bingley History". Bradford & Bingley. Archived from the original on 2008-08-22. Retrieved 2008-09-27. 
  11. ^ "Santander scraps UK bank brands". BBC News. 27 May 2009. Retrieved 28 January 2010. 
  12. ^ 1881 HENRY THOMAS CHAMBERS Leicester City Council (retrieved 30 January 2010)
  13. ^ Extract from Building Societies Yearbook 2007/8 (pp.131, 126 and 148) Building Societies Association (retrieved 29 January 2010)
  14. ^ "A&L shareholders approve takeover". BBC News. 16 September 2008. Retrieved 10 August 2009. 
  15. ^ "Spanish bank giant to acquire B&B". BBC News. 28 September 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2009. 
  16. ^ "Santander rebrands Abbey and Bradford & Bingley". BBC News. 11 January 2010. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  17. ^ "Alliance & Leicester transfer to Santander UK plc". Santander UK plc. 2010. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  18. ^ Santander's decision to rename Alliance & Leicester 'disappointing' This is Business - East Midlands. 28 May 2009
  19. ^ "Website legal". Santander UK plc. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  20. ^ "Santander to scrap Abbey for Intermediaries brand next Wednesday". Mortgage Strategy. 10 July 2013. Retrieved 27 September 2013. 
  21. ^ "About us". Santander Foundation bubbles. 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  22. ^ Jill Treanor (25 March 2012). "Santander to close bank branches to reduce overlap". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  23. ^ David Masters (2 July 2009). "Santander rebrands commercial banking units". Finance Markets. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  24. ^ Chris Salih (9 December 2009). "IFG Group to buy James Hay for £35m". Money Marketing. 
  25. ^ "Santander pays £1.65bn for 318 RBS branches". London: The Daily Telegraph. 4 August 2010. Retrieved 4 August 2010. 
  26. ^ "RBS sale of 316 branches to Santander collapses". BBC News. 12 October 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  27. ^ "Santander stockpiles £538m to pay PPI claims as profits take a hit". This is Money. 27 July 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  28. ^ Patrick Collinson (26 February 2011). "Is Santander Britain's worst bank?". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  29. ^ "Santander brings call centres back to UK". BBC News. 8 July 2011. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  30. ^ Steve Slater (20 December 2012). "Santander UK to sell UK store cards portfolio". Reuters. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  31. ^ "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. 
  32. ^ Weir, Keith (29 September 2014). "Santander UK picks Bostock as CEO to lead London float". Reuters. Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  33. ^ Aguado, Jesus; White, Sarah (4 November 2014). "Spain's Santander does not expect UK unit IPO in 2015 - CEO". Reuters. Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  34. ^ Slater, Steve (28 July 2015). "Santander UK finance chief quits as bank keeps IPO plans on ice". Reuters. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  35. ^ Greig Cameron (31 May 2013). "Santander chief plans more Scots branches". The Herald. Retrieved 23 June 2013. 
  36. ^ a b "18 Month Fixed Rate Bond". Santander UK. May 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  37. ^ "Our members". Cheque and Credit Clearing Company. 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  38. ^ Santander launches current account with no fees or penalty charges Jacquie Bowser. Brand Republic. 20 November 2009
  39. ^ Ian Pollock (10 January 2010). "Will Santander challenge the big banks?". BBC News. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  40. ^ "Santander sponsorship renewal boosts McLaren". Reuters. 23 January 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  41. ^ "Santander extends McLaren partnership". Formula One. 14 September 2009. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  42. ^ "Corporation Sponsorship". Santander. 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  43. ^ "Rory McIlroy to sign deal with Santander". Belfast Telegraph. 22 September 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  44. ^ "Santander to take over sponsorship of 'Boris bikes' scheme". BBC News. 27 February 2015. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 

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