Santander’s UK switch to small loans takes off

 
Tim Wallace
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SANTANDER’S British profits grew over 2013 as a whole, the bank reported yesterday, as it continued its move out of mortgages and into small business lending.

The bank benefited from another 1.1m customers joining its high-profile 123 World account offering, with 232,000 moving their main account from a rival to Santander.

SME loan balances increased from £10.6bn in 2012 to £11.7bn in 2013, and loans to larger firms grew from £9bn to £10.4bn.

By contrast the mortgages on its balance sheet dipped from £156.6bn to £148.1bn.

Pre-tax profits hit £921m, up five per cent on the £877m in 2012.

“The UK economic recovery is strengthening, although uncertainties remain in the banking environment for the year ahead,” said UK chief executive Ana Botin.

“We will continue to support our customers and the broader economy: our intention is to grow both our commercial and retail lending in 2014.”

Meanwhile the wider Santander Group saw its profits jump 90 per cent as the Eurozone crisis receded.

The bank made €4.37bn (£3.6bn) in the year with much of the gain coming from reduced loan loss writedowns in Spain and Brazil.