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Santander UK boss leaves for wider group role as profits jump 61%

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Holly Williams
·3-min read
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Santander has kicked off the hunt for a new UK boss after its chief executive was appointed to a wider group role amid a shake-up as the bank posted a 61% surge in profits.

Nathan Bostock will stand down towards the end of 2021 after seven years in the role, to become head of investment platforms at Spanish owner Banco Santander.

Santander said a process to hire a new UK head is under way and Mr Bostock will step down once a successor has been appointed.

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Among other changes announced as part of a reshuffle, Santander said its UK chief executive of retail and business banking, Susan Allen, would also be stepping down from the board immediately and will leave the business later in the summer.

Her responsibilities will be split between a head of everyday banking and head of homes.

Details of the changes came as Santander reported UK pre-tax profits jumping to £184 million in the first quarter, up from £114 million a year earlier.

Mr Bostock told the PA news agency said it was “always a difficult decision to move on”, but added it was the “right time”.

“We’ve come through the last year and the pandemic in a really strong and resilient position,” he said.

“That was really important to me.”

Watch: UK banks slash office space as staff stay home

The group saw a sharp drop in provisions for loans expected to turn sour due to the fallout from the pandemic, at just £5 million against £165 million a year ago.

It was also boosted by £1.5 billion of net mortgage lending growth as the stamp duty holiday spurred on a surge in applications at the end of last year.

The wider Banco Santander group likewise delivered a much-improved performance, with its best quarterly earnings in more than a decade.

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It reported net profits of 1.6 billion euro (£1.4 billion), up from 331 million euro (£288 million) a year ago and, on an underlying basis, profits leapt 50% to 2.1 billion euro (£1.8 billion) – its best quarter since the second quarter of 2010.

The result marks a significant rebound after it slumped to the first ever annual loss in its 160-year history in 2020.

Santander expects the UK economy to bounce back with growth of 4.5% this year.

Like rival Lloyds Banking Group, which also reported a sharp first quarter profits leap on Wednesday, it said mortgage growth may slow as the year progresses due to the ending of the stamp duty holiday in June.

But Mr Bostock said the group had been “positively surprised” by mortgage demand so far, and expects changing needs in the pandemic to continue to drive the housing market.

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