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Santander poses new POS threat

Santander, the Spanish bank that bought Abbey National in 2004, is acquiring Alliance & Leicester for about £1.26 billion.

The deal, which should be completed by October, is viewed in banking circles as a bargain, with Santander taking advantage of the economic downturn.

Santander plans to merge A&L with the rebranded Abbey, and the combined network will pose another challenge to motor retail point-of-sale finance.

The Spanish bank has ambitions to strengthen its position in the UK and will use its new larger high-street presence to push loans for cars and other items.

A&L is also a mortgage lender, and some analysts sees Santander’s move as a sign that the leading finance provider believes the property value slump could be relatively short-lived.

Most analysts believe there will be an upturn in 2010.

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