Santander, which operates through Sovereign Bank in the US, has confirmed it is to rebrand all 700 US branches under the Santander flag. More than 1.7 million customers of Sovereign Bank, the 23rd largest US bank by deposits, will become Santander customers by October 2013.
The rebrand is part of a $200m three-year plan to improve Santander’s US offering. The Spain-headquartered bank said that it will refurbish its 700 US branches, renovate its flagship branch in Boston, ramp up its ATM network and improve online banking for US customers.
It has taken Santander four years to deem Sovereign Bank worthy of the Santander name. Santander acquired the bank in 2008, following a $1.3bn loss by Sovereign in fiscal 2007, making it Santander’s sole wholly-owned subsidiary in the US.
Since scooping up the bank, Santander said it had turned around Sovereign by improving the bank’s capital and asset quality.
Santander hopes a marketing push will introduce customers to the rebrand – the Spanish banking giant will be using print broadcast and online advertising to familiarise consumers to the Santander name.
"We’re looking forward to acquainting consumers and businesses with the Santander brand," said Santander marketing executive Kathy Klinger.
"Our new advertising campaign will focus on how Santander will support our customers in achieving their dreams, goals and ideas," Klinger added.
The move is consistent with Santander’s aim to become a global banking brand. In 2010, it rebranded three UK acquisitions – Abbey National, Bradford & Bingley and Alliance & Lester – under the Santander title and integrated the banks’ IT networks.
Santander had acquired Bradford & Bingley’s branch network when the former building society collapsed, but took two years before rebranding its savings, business and branch network.