Santander is refusing to comment on speculation that it is considering making a bid for Bank of Ireland.
The Spanish lending giant is widely thought to be on the acquisition trail following the crash in major banking shares seen over recent weeks.
Industry sources speaking to Irish radio station NewsTalk say Santander is in a strong position to look at scooping up Bank of Ireland, as the Spanish bank largely shied away from the wild lending seen by its rivals during the property boom.
The rumoured move to seize Bank of Ireland follows Santander’s unsuccessful attempt to acquire Deutsche Postbank last week, and its agreed £1.2bn takeover deal of Alliance & Leicester in July.
Bank of Ireland is also declining to comment.