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UK brand merger to save Santander £180m a year

Santander will save itself £180m a year once its UK brands all merge under the bank’s single brand.

The Spanish bank today revealed that it would be scrapping its Abbey, Bradford & Bingley and Alliance & Leicester retail brands in 2010, integrating all the businesses into Santander. It says this will cost £12m initially, but will make a saving of £180m, per year.

A spokesman for Abbey says: “We have completed the ‘Partenon’ system integrations in the Abbey, will have the systems installed in B&B stores very soon and we will then begin with the A&L stores, which should be completed in 2010. It will cost around £12m for the rebranding, but we will be saving £180m every year through the integration of the brands, so it makes business sense.”

Moneysupermarket.com has warned that the integration of the businesses under the Santander banner will mean its two banking licences will be eventually scrapped and savers with both A&L and the Abbey brands will not benefit from the FSCS’ cross brand cover; if a saver is with both Abbey and A&L, they are currently covered up to £100,000. But after Summer 2010 this cover will be reduced to just £50,000.

Moneysupermarket.com head of banking Kevin Mountford says: “Savers with larger balances in both A&L and Abbey/B&B will need to review their arrangements. Consumers will need to keep their eyes peeled to see how this will affect them, as there can be no doubt the consolidation process will leave some casualties.”

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