Santander boss tells MoS: We have NEVER thought of UK sale
- Ana Botin contacted The Mail on Sunday to dispel City speculation
- Botin said she had ‘never considered’ offloading the UK bank
- It comes after a string of high-profile managers quit
Direct: Ana Botin contacted The Mail on Sunday to dispel City speculation
Santander’s Spanish boss Ana Botin has given the bank’s UK arm a huge vote of confidence after a string of high-profile managers quit.
In a highly unusual move, Botin contacted The Mail on Sunday to quash rumours of disquiet after Santander lost its mortgage chief Miguel Sard to NatWest and chief risk officer Patricia Halliday and head of HR Vicky Wallis both resigned.
Botin, one of the most powerful women in banking, said she had ‘never considered’ offloading the UK bank, even after it suffered a £1.3billion writedown last year.
Santander has been shutting branches, slashing savings rates and suffered a blow to profits in 2019, leading to speculation in the City about the bank’s future in Britain.
But Botin said: ‘Santander UK is a critical part of the group and we have never considered selling it.
‘One of the strengths of Santander’s model is our geographic diversification. It has allowed us to deliver the least volatile earnings among our peers consistently over the past 20 years, while still increasing profit fivefold over the same period.
‘Our UK business is an important part of that diversification and is central to our long-term strategy, as well as being a hub for innovation, talent and development.’
Santander closed 140 branches in 2019 and was forced in January to slash the rate on its popular 123 current account.
The UK’s third largest mortgage lender has been hit by a fierce price war in the mortgage market, and hefty payouts for the PPI scandals. Profits fell 37 per cent to £981million in 2019.