Page last updated at 10:12 GMT, Monday, 11 January 2010

Santander rebrands Abbey and Bradford & Bingley

Santander sign unveiled at branch in London
Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton unveils the new name in London

The Spanish bank Santander has started renaming all 1,045 branches of the former Abbey and Bradford & Bingley banks.

Santander bought Abbey in 2004 and then bought both the Bradford & Bingley and the Alliance & Leicester (A&L) in 2008.

The nearly 300 A&L branches will be renamed later this year.

The change will make the Santander brand the fifth biggest provider of bank current accounts in the UK, with 25 million savers and borrowers.

Challenger

The re-naming process, costing £15m, starts with 300 Abbey and Bradford & Bingley branches in the south-east of England and will be followed by the remaining 700 or so later this month.

People are still very reluctant to change [bank accounts] - most only do so if they are hacked off with their current lenders
David Black, Defaqto

As well as changing the names, 9,500 staff have been issued with new uniforms, and the Santander name will be emblazoned on 971 cash machines, 27 company internet sites and thousands of separate items of stationery.

Alison Brittain, a Santander executive, said it was a good time to have a new name on the High Street.

"The Santander brand is untarnished during the credit crisis, it is very strong and secure," she said.

"We operate as a challenger on the UK High Street and, having 1,300 branches, it is going to be great."

As part of its push for more customers, Santander has launched a current account for its mortgage customers that does not impose any fees for unauthorised overdrafts.

The bank's UK customers can now also use Santander cash machines in Spain for free.



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