Santander sees profits drop 14 per cent

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Banking group Santander said full-year pre-tax profit declined 14 per cent to £1.6bn due to “continued income and cost pressures”.

The bank said net mortgage growth of £3.3bn in 2018 was its strongest in over three years “despite the highly competitive market”.

Santander said net interest income declined 5 per cent to £3.6bn in 2018 partly due to lower new mortgage margins.

The lender said it is preparing for a number of Brexit outcomes in order to minimise the impact on customers and the business.

It said it has “taken account of the nationality and location of our people and customers, contract continuity, financial markets infrastructure such as clearing, access to Euro payment systems as well as third-party services and flows of data into and out of the European Economic Area”.

Santander is cautious in its outlook for 2019. It expects global economic activity to continue to expand, but at a slower pace due to risks associated with trade restrictions, geopolitical tensions and slower growth in developed economies.

This is coupled with a competitive banking market and “demanding regulatory agenda in the UK”.

The bank expects UK net mortgage lending in 2019 to be broadly in line with 2018. It also anticipates that costs will increase slightly as it invests further in its business and that it will face further “intensifying regulatory change” as well as managing inflationary pressures.