B&B taken into public ownership

Bradford & Bingley\'s direct channels and retail deposits have been transferred to Abbey, following B&B being placed into public ownership by the Treasury.

B&B’s retail deposits, branch network and related employees will transfer under the provisions of the Banking Special Provisions Act 2008, to Abbey National, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Banco Santander.

All of B&B’s customer loans and Treasury assets, which includes the £41bn of mortgage assets, will be taken under public ownership.

While its £20bn retail deposit base with 2.7 million customers and its direct channels including 197 retail branches, 141 agencies and related employees will be transferred to Abbey.

The acquisition price will be £612m, including the transfer of £208m of capital relating to offshore companies.

The combined business of Abbey, Alliance & Leicester and B&B will have 1,286 branches across the UK. It is also expected that upon completion of the transfer, Santander’s UK market share of retail deposits will increase to around 10%1, and the combined business will also have a customer base of 24 million.

António Horta-Osório, chief executive of Abbey, says: ‘This is good news for Bradford & Bingley’s savings customers. They can be certain that their hard-earned savings are with a bank they can trust as Abbey is part of the Santander Group, one of the world’s most successful banks.

“It has an AA credit rating and a strong retail focus with more branches worldwide than any other international bank. As such, Santander has been well-positioned to succeed in the current market turbulence.

“The transfer of deposits and the branch network further increases the scale of our operations in the UK to around 10% of the market, an important strategic objective for us. We will significantly increase the potential of our distribution capability through the additional branches and have brought a further 2.7 million customers to the bank.”