An Introduction to Santander.
The Santander Group is, by far, the largest bank in the Eurozone by market value. Indeed, by that metric, it’s also one of the largest banks in the world, with total assets over €1.266 trillion and profit of €5.816 billion for 2014. It’s also an extremely old one, having been founded in (you guessed it) Santander, Spain over 158 years ago. Strange, then that here in the United Kingdom, we hadn’t heard of the bank until the mid-2000’s, when they became a huge force on the high street, seemingly out of nowhere. So, how did Santander become such a huge force in the UK?
The story begins with three former stalwarts of the high-street banking scene that are no longer with us – Abbey National, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley. Abbey National (then trading as Abbey), had been bought out by the Santander Group in 2004 for £9 billion, giving it a foothold in the UK. Santander then purchased Alliance & Leicester in mid-September of 2008, and quickly followed by a large number of branches and assets from Bradford & Bingley, which had been nationalised during the 2008 banking crisis.
By early 2010, the Bradford & Bingley and Abbey National brands were retired and replaced with Santander branding, becoming Santander UK plc. This was promoted with F1 driver Lewis Hamilton opening the first branch in central London. Over 300 other branches would be opened that day, suddenly giving Santander a huge UK presence. Indeed, by May of 2010, Alliance & Leicester also shut down, to be replaced by Santander on the high streets.
This meant that Santander was in the same position that EE was, following the rebrand of Orange and T-Mobile, in that many towns were home to a high number of identical stores. On Northumberland Street in Newcastle, for example, there were three separate Santander branches within a 300 metre space. In 2012, the company decided that they would reduce the amount of duplicate branches, and closed 56, with staff moving to other nearby branches.
Recently, Santander have won customers with the release of the 1, 2, 3 account, alongside their promotion of the Current Account Switch Guarantee, which has featured heavily in their television adverts. Today, it has more than 14 million customers, 20,000 employees and over a thousand branches.
Head office: 2 Triton Square, Regent’s Place, London, NW1 3AN, United Kingdom.
Customer services: http://www.santander.co.uk/uk/help-support
Number: 0800 068 6069