The Commission has cleared, on competition grounds, the acquisition of certain assets of UK mortgage bank Bradford & Bingley by Abbey, the UK arm of Banco Santander. As a result of the transaction, Abbey acquired all retail savings account deposits held by Bradford & Bingley together with the agencies and other essential assets for the operation of the business. Since Bradford and Bingley did not provide a full range of retail banking services prior to the merger, the Commission considered that the transaction would be unlikely to have a significant impact on the overall position of Abbey in retail banking.
Prior to this decision, the Commission had, under state aid rules, authorised the UK's package of measures designed to protect retail depositors and support the orderly winding down of those parts of Bradford & Bingley's activities not being acquired by Banco Santander. The Commission decided at the time that Banco Santander received no aid when it bought Bradford & Bingley's retail deposit business as it paid the market price. Some remaining assets of Bradford & Bingley, in particular the past mortgage lending activities, have been transferred to the British State.