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Is Santander the bright light of the UK banking sector?

Santander, the Spanish financial conglomerate, has today issued a statement confirming the creation of 600 jobs in its UK division with plans afoot to significantly grow the UK operation. This comes only hours after the company confirmed it was in final talks to acquire the 300+ Royal Bank of Scotland branches which the company was forced to put up for sale by the European Union.

At a time when the UK banking sector is showing signs of improvement Santander would appear to be well ahead of competitors in the UK after confirming the creation of 519,000 new current accounts in the UK, in the first half of 2010. The company is very confident this figure will rise to above 1 million for the full year thereby increasing the company's share of the UK market.

The market has been rife with rumours that Santander is looking to "spinoff" its UK operations into a separate company and float this on the UK stock market. Whether now is the right time to issue shares in the new company remains to be seen but Santander appears to be very buoyant with regards to its UK trading.

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