From 2010 some of the best known names in UK banking including Abbey and Bradford & Bingley savings will disappear from our high streets.
Spanish banking giant Santander announced that both Abbey and B&B will be rebranded early next year, with Alliance & Leicester following in the £12 million move. It expects to save £180 million from the changes, which once completed, will allow customers to use any of the 1,300 rebranded branches to transact business.
Santander, the second largest banking group in the world, bought Abbey in 2004 for around £8 billion, and A&L for £1.3 billion last year. In 2008 they purchased B&B’s savings accounts and branch network as the government was forced to mount a rescue.
Currently the brands operate under two banking licences, one covering Abbey, B&B and the internet bank Cahoot, with the other covering A&L. This arrangement benefits those who have savings under both licences as they have savings up to £50,000 protected under each licence through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. However, while Santander say this will remain the case up until at least mid 2010, if the rebrand results in the loss of one licence, savers may want to rethink their arrangements.
Santander will continue to use the Abbey and Alliance & Leicester brands in their dealings with intermediaries such as L&C