The cost of red tape damages profits at UK arm of Santander

Tim Wallace
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SANTANDER UK’s profits dipped in the first quarter as revenues fell and regulatory expenses increased, the bank’s results revealed yesterday.

Pre-tax profits fell 21.1 per cent on the same period of 2012, down from £363m to £282m.

Operating income dropped 10 per cent to £971m while expenses increased 3.3 per cent to £553m.

Rising regulatory and investment costs pushed its cost to income ratio up to 57 per cent, from 50 per cent a year ago, though costs in bad loan provisions dipped on the year.

The bank’s strategy of cutting back on mortgage lending and shifting to businesses saw SME loans up 15 per cent, taking its market share up from 4.7 per cent to 5.3 per cent.

Meanwhile the bank’s Spanish parent missed expectations with earnings falling 26 per cent on the year to €1.2bn (£1bn).

“There was some positive news on net interest income in the UK, benefitting from repricing and change of the loan mix coupled with a cheaper cost of funding,” said Espirito Santo analyst Juan Pablo Lopez.