Santander’s profits in the UK fell by 36% in the first half of 2019 with the banking heavyweight putting the blame on fierce competition in the UK mortgage market.
In its H1 results the bank said it was continuing to see income pressure on its mortgage back book and continued SVR attrition. However Santander said new mortgage margins had improved slightly during the year.
Nathan Bostock, chief executive officer at Santander, said: “These are uncertain times, and our profitability has been impacted by a fall in income due to the highly competitive UK mortgage market.
“Against this external backdrop, we continue to invest in our business in order to strengthen our competitive position and improve efficiency which has resulted in additional strategic transformation costs.
“As our customers’ needs are changing fast – so are we – becoming simpler and more focused, more effective at harnessing technology, and faster at turning innovative new ideas into reality. Our goal is to provide our customers with an experience that is second to none.
“We are confident that our strategy, combining prudence with decisive actions, will deliver significant benefits over the medium-term and leave us strongly positioned for the future.”
Back in January Santander announced that it would be closing almost 140 branches, almost a fifth of its network, as it looked to cut costs in the face of increasing consumer digitisation.
So far it has spent £113m on branch closures and other restructuring costs with another £400m set aside for restructuring.