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Failed bid for RBS branches cost Santander £52m

Santander UK has revealed that its aborted £1.7bn bid to buy 316 branches from Royal Bank of Scotland cost it £52m.

RBS, the second-largest mortgage provider in the UK, also revealed a dramatic drop in lending to homebuyers during the third quarter as it tried to raise the quality of its loan book.

Ana Botin, chief executive (pictured), said: "Our decision not to extend again the long-stop date for our planned acquisition from RBS was due to the ongoing delays and our concern that the continued uncertainty regarding timing was not in the best interests of our customers or staff. Our overriding obligation is to our existing and prospective customers and we acted in their best interests."

She was speaking as the bank reported that profits for the first nine months of the year were broadly flat at £1.1bn, with a sharp decrease in new mortgage lending. Santander did just £2.8bn of gross mortgage lending between July and September, well below the last two years' levels. The bank's share of the new mortgage market dropped from 16.3 per cent in 2011 to 10.8 per cent this year.