Santander seals deal for RBS branches

Spain-based bank Santander has finalised its deal to purchase over 300 branches from partly-nationalised RBS for an estimated £1.65bn, a significant savings of nearly £350,000 over the Royal Bank of Scotland’s asking price.

The financial arrangement is scheduled to be complete in a little over a year to a year and a half from now, after the proper regulatory channels have been followed by both Santander and RBS.

Santander’s final haul will be 311 branches of RBS in England and Wales.  An additional 7 branches of NatWest in Scotland are also part of the deal; amongst the 318 total branches, 40 0f which are banking centres specialised for small and medium sized business enterprise, three are currently operating as private banking centres, and a final four are dedicated to corporate banking needs.

This marks a significant milestone for Santander; the Spanish bank’s strategy has been to increase its market share in the UK, and this purchase of RBS assets will increase that share to 8 per cent, up from its current three per cent.

Emilio Botín, chairman of Santander, released a statement in which he touted the bank acquisition as a huge leap forward for the firm’s small business aspirations in Britain.

This new deal comes on the heels of Santander’s latest announcement of hiring 600 new staff to handle the influx of customer service issues the bank has encountered lately.  Industry experts are anxious to see if the rapidly growing bank will be able to keep up with the demands of its increased customer base.

Santander’s recent increase in market share in the UK is attributable to its recent acquisition of several financial institutions such as Alliance & Leicester, Bradford & Bingley, and Abbey; yet their customer service record, however, has been less than stellar.  Industry speculation has indicated that the bank’s recent rampant growth may has outpaced its customer service resources, leading to the troubles reported by the Daily Mail.

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