Santander gains current account customers but UK profits drop

 
Tim Wallace
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SANTANDER UK’s profits fell in the third quarter despite the success of a major advertising campaign to recruit new current account customers, the bank said yesterday.

So far this year the lender has gained another 900,000 account customers, bringing its total on the brand up to 2.2m.

However, pre-tax profits for continuing operations in the first nine months of the year came in at £891m, down 14.3 per cent on the £1.04bn in the same period of 2012.

Overall loans on the balance sheet are down three per cent to £188.7bn in the year to September, as the bank rebalances away from mortgages and towards small business banking.

Gross mortgage lending rose from £11.2bn to £12.9bn, but its book declined as the bank cut down its holdings of risky loans, particularly in the interest only segment. But its commercial loan book increased 10 per cent from £19.6bn to £21.5bn.

“We continue to diversify by growing our corporate banking businesses with our aspiration of becoming ‘bank of choice’ for UK companies,” said chief Ana Botin.

Meanwhile its international parent group reported a 77 per cent jump in profits to €3.31bn (£2.8bn), as problems in Spain eased and the diversification to grow the bank’s presence in South America paid off.