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Santander UK profits slump after big coronavirus bad loans provision

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Santander UK reported a 44% decline in profits for 2020 as the lender made a £448mln provision against potential bad loans.

Although the UK arm of Spain’s Banco Santander said the performance of its UK loans portfolio “remains resilient”, with growth in mortgage lending and customer deposits, the new provision arose from changes to its economic scenarios and weightings, the reclassification of certain loans, coronavirus payment holidays and other management judgement.

Net interest income was up 4% to £3.4bn after a stronger second half, with repricing of its current account and other deposits offsetting base rate cuts and mortgage margin pressure.

Profit before tax slumped to £552mln from £981mln the year before.

The CET1 capital ratio rose to 11.1% from 10.4% a year earlier.

Nathan Bostock, chief executive of the bank’s UK lending arm, said £4.6bn had been lent to business customers through the government-backed lending schemes, and customers had been given more than 373,000 payment holidays.

He added: “With vaccines being rolled out at pace and the ratification of the Brexit trade agreement, we are well positioned to support the UK’s economic recovery over the coming years and deliver on our purpose to help people and businesses prosper.”

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