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February 4, 2010    

Santander profit grows 13%

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by Kay Murchie

Spanish banking giant Santander has today revealed a 13% rise in fourth-quarter net profit to €2.2 billion (£1.9 billion).

Meanwhile the bank, which is the second largest banking group in the world after HSBC, said gross income grew almost 24% to €10 billion.

For the 2009 year as a whole, net profit was up 1% to €8.94 billion, with good performances in continental Europe, Latin America and Britain, it said.

The bank’s chairman, Emilio Botin, said “the results for 2009 are the best in the bank’s history, if one takes into account the difficult circumstances.”

The bank announced last month that it was beginning its integration of UK High Street banks - Abbey and Bradford & Bingley (B&B).

Santander became a household name in the UK when it acquired Abbey for £9.5 billion, back in 2004.

In July 2008, it rescued troubled mortgage lender, Alliance & Leicester (A&L), and a few months later, it took ownership of B&B’s savings business and branch network.

The reason behind the rebrand is so customers of the above mentioned UK banks will be able to carry out transactions in any of Santander’s UK branches.

Once the integration is complete, a total of 1,300 branches will have their names changed to Santander.

Meanwhile, the bank recently said it is actively looking to enhance its share of the current account and mortgage markets.

It appears to be achieving this after figures show that one in two of every new mortgage in Britain is sold by Santander.

The bank said net lending (which excludes remortgaging) totalled £7.6bn in 2009 - estimated to be half the net lending of the entire mortgage market in 2009.

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