Santander, the UK’s fifth-largest
retail bank by branches, has confirmed it is to brand all of its
1,300 UK branches under the Santander banner by the end of 2010.
Almost 700 Abbey and 338 Bradford & Bingley (B&B) outlets
are first in the queue and will rebrand from the first quarter of
next year, while 254 Alliance & Leicester (A&L) units will
follow later in the year.

And, according to the bank, branch closures
are not on the agenda. A spokeswoman for Santander told RBI the
bank needed all of its current network and added “if anything we
will add to the branch network later this year or next.”

One of the key drivers in implementing the
rebranding has been the UK branches’ migration to Santander’s
global IT platform, Partenon. In what is one of the largest IT
programmes undertaken by any UK bank, Abbey has been moving to
Partenon since it was acquired by Santander in 2004 with B&B
and A&L branches scheduled to hook up to Partenon by July 2009
and the end of 2010 respectively.

Santander’s UK chief executive António
Horta-Osório said in a statement: “Our F1 partnership with Lewis
Hamilton and Vodafone Mercedes McLaren, coupled with our
sponsorship of the British Grand Prix has considerably raised
awareness of Santander in the UK.”

According to Santander, once the rebranding
exercise is complete, the bank will save around £180 million per

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By GlobalData