As owner of British banks Abbey and Alliance and Leicester, Spanish banking giant Santander has become the UK's second largest mortgage provider, taking a 13 per cent market share last year.
After its acquisition of A&L and the savings arm of Bradford & Bingley, Santander has also become the third largest retail savings bank in the UK.
With 1,329 branches and 25 million customers, Santander has become a major player in the UK banking system.
The integration of Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley saw deposits grow 66 per cent, and Santander mortgage business grow by 43 per cent.
Since it expanded to include B&B and A&L along with Abbey, which it acquired in 2004, Santander's growth has been more focussed on deposits, as the global economic crisis has stunted mortgage lending.
While many of the UK's banks have announced huge losses during the past 12 months, in a report released this week, Santander has announced profits of £790m for the first half of 2009.
Last year's acquisitions of Bradford & Bingley savings and Alliance & Leicester boosted Santander’s UK profit by 62.8% compared to the same time in 2008, with B&B contributing £7million of the profit and A&L accounting for a further £137million.
By the end of 2010, the Abbey, A&L and B&B brands will have practically disappeared, and will all appear under the Santander brand, apart from Abbey's international business, and Abbey for Intermediaries.
© Fair Investment Company Ltd