Profits at Santander UK climb 30%

Santander UK has posted a 30% rise in annual pre-tax profits to £1.54bn for the year to December 31 and increased its gross mortgage market share.

Santander’s UK banking arm, which recently completed its rebranding of Abbey and Bradford & Bingley branches, increased its gross lending share of the mortgage market to 18.6%, from 13.9% in 2008.

But gross mortgage lending went from £35.2bn in 2008 to £26.4bn last year.

Net lending for the UK businesses, which also includes Alliance & Leicester, rose to £7.6bn in 2009 compared to £6.1bn in 2008.

The mortgage book’s average LTV stands at 52% for existing stock and 64% for new business.

The proportion of mortgages in arrears by three months or more is 1.37%, against the industry average as of last September of 2.4%.

Repossessions have fallen from 969 in 2008 to 820 last year.

Santander says that comparing the second half of 2009 to the first half, mortgages drove the UK business performance which the lender attributes to a reduction in fraud.

Overall the Santander Group posted a profit of €8.9bn (£7.8bn), up 1% from 2008 figures.

António Horta-Osório, chief executive of Santander UK, says: “Our full year results demonstrate clearly our business model and strategy are delivering superior results, allowing us to increase profits and revenues, balanced against controlled costs and prudent lending.

“Our ongoing focus on efficiency means we can continue to share the benefits of this cost advantage with our customers through competitive products, demonstrated by us having more best buy mentions than any other high street bank.

“This has enabled Santander UK to write significant new business and continue to support the UK economy with increased lending to home owners and businesses.”

Santander completed its rebranding of Abbey and B&B’s savings business last month, giving its UK customers access to around 1000 Santander branches.

The branch network is set to increase to 1300 by the end of the year following the rebranding of A&L.