The UK payment protection insurance (PPI) scandal is continuing to haunt major banks after Santander set aside another £450m to pay compensation to customers who were mis-sold.
The top up to the provision – the Spanish bank’s first for a year – came as Royal Bank of Scotland added another £500m to its PPI compensation fund and drove the UK arm of Santander to a fourth quarter loss of £82m.
Wednesday’s PPI charge knocked the profits of the wider Santander group, which has major operations in its home market and Brazil,, but it is expected to be the bank’s final PPI provision. Santander has now set aside £1.5bn for PPI, though its bill is lower than rivals such as Lloyds Banking Group, which has set aside more than £13bn.
The Financial Conduct Authority is consulting on a proposed 2018 deadline for PPI claims and on how to handle any breaches of the Consumer Credit Act that may have taken place during the sales process, as a result of a case known as Plevin v Paragon Personal Finance.
The UK arm of Santander reported a slight fall in 2015 profits from £1.4bn to £1.3bn as a result of the PPI charge. The group’s overall profits were up 3% to nearly €6bn (£4.5bn).
Nathan Bostock, the chief executive of the UK arm, did not dampen speculation that the bank is interested in buying the hundreds of branches RBS must sell to meet requirements set out by the EU following its taxpayer bailout in 2008.
He also admitted that new rules coming into force in the UK in 2019 could require customers to receive new sort codes for their accounts. This is a result of ringfencing rules – devised by Sir John Vickers in his 2011 review of banking – that force financial institutions to separate their high street operations from any riskier lending and investment businesses.
Banks in the UK have to submit plans for how they will comply with these rules to the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority by Friday.
Bostock said: “In terms of banking reform, we are close to submitting our near-final plans on ring-fencing and remain in constructive dialogue with the PRA.
“We anticipate that the UK economy will remain supportive of our business in 2016, but are mindful of the recent market volatility from macro/geopolitical factors, and that our future earnings will be impacted by the bank corporation tax surcharge.”
Santander has amassed its business in the UK by buying Abbey National, Alliance & Leicester and the parts of Bradford & Bingley not nationalised during the 2008 crisis. It has been trying to compete with the big four of Lloyds, RBS, Barclays and HSBC through its 123 account, but earlier this month it asked customers to pay a higher monthly charge of £5.
Bostock said the bank was not achieving all its targets because interest rates had stayed low for longer than expected.
Santander sets aside another £450m as PPI still haunts UK banks | Business | The Guardian. 2016.Santander sets aside another £450m as PPI still haunts UK banks | Business | The Guardian. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/27/santander-profits-plunge-by-98-after-ppi-compensation-charges. [Accessed 28 January 2016].