Paul Pester appointed at B&B

Paul Pester, currently Managing Director of Premium Banking at Abbey, has been appointed to take responsibility for Bradford & Bingley's retail distribution, including their branch network, where he will oversee the integration of Bradford & Bingley's 197 branches and 141 agencies to Abbey's branch network of 704 branches.

Paul will start the role with immediate effect, and reports to Alison Brittain, Abbey's Executive Director for Retail Distribution.

Paul has significant experience in retail banking through his previous roles as Managing Director of Consumer Banking at Lloyds TSB, CEO of Virgin Money, and most recently as CEO of MoneyFacts.

Alison Brittain, said: "Our expanded branch network gives us greater critical mass and a presence throughout the high street which makes us a genuine challenger to the big banks. We're delighted that Paul's experience and expertise will be used to great effect as we bring Santander's proven retail business model to Bradford & Bingley's 338 branches. Coupled with our highly competitive product suite and the financial strength of Santander, this makes us a compelling new force in retail banking."

The Santander acquisition of A&L also will complete on 10 October 2008, giving the group 1286 branches in the UK.