Santander stars pull in million customers as bank rules out immediate UK float

Spanish bank says it has no "current plans "to float its UK arm

Jessica Ennis-Hill, Rory McIlroy and Jenson Button have brought in more than one million new customers to Santander with their adverts for its 123 World account.

In the last nine months Santander said that 1.1 million people opened new 123 accounts with 232,000 of them switching from rival banks.

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

“This year we will continue with our significant investment in strategic initiatives to expand further our commercial businesses, to improve our retail banking offering and enhance the experience of our customers interacting with us across all channels.”

But she also made it clear that Santander’s push into commercial and especially small and medium business lending would not be done at any cost. Originally Botin had set a target that, by the end of 2015, 20 per cent of all the Spanish-owned bank’s lending should be to businesses.

That proportion reached 12 per cent by the end of last year but today the bank said: “We will not compromise our prudent risk management to meet the 20 per cent of total customer loans commitment for commercial banking.

"If we are not satisfied with the credit quality of the opportunities available to us we would choose to slow the pace of corporate loan growth.”

Santander UK’s profits were flat in 2013 at £1.14 billion, reflecting its decision to shrink its mortgage book in the high loan to value and interest only parts of the market. It has also seen a fall in deposits as it prices products to attract long-term rather than short-term savers.

The bank would not comment on concerns raised by the Prudential Regulation Authority over the imminent arrival of Nathan Bostock from Royal Bank of Scotland.

It is understood that his role as deputy chief executive has been given clearance but he has been told he cannot also be head of risk at the bank because of fears that this could create a conflict of interest.

The business lending pledge aside, Santander’s targets include raising its 123 customer base from its current 2.4 million to 4 million, cutting its cost to income ratio from 54 per cent to below 50 per cent and raising its return on equity from 8.9 per cent to between 13 per cent and 15 per cent.

Santander UK has postponed plans to float on the London stock market for at least a further year.

News
peopleChildren leave in tears as Santa is caught smoking and drinking
Arts and Entertainment
A host of big name acts recorded 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' in London on Saturday
musicCharity single tops chart
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Backshall has become the eighth celebrity to leave Strictly Come Dancing
tv
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
tvStrictly presenter returns to screens after Halloween accident
News
peopleFormer civil rights activist who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine has died aged 78
News
i100
News
Boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney, entered the 2014 Celebrity Big Brother house
people
Sport
Dwight Gayle (left) celebrates making it 1-1 with Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak
premier leagueReds falter to humbling defeat
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Reach Volunteering: Trustee – PR& Marketing, Social Care, Commercial skills

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Age Concern Slough a...

Reach Volunteering: Charity Treasurer

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Crossroads Care is s...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000: SThree: We consistently strive to be ...

Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CADIS) Developer

£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin