Santander's new UK boss Ana Patricia Botin has admitted to MPs that the bank has "a lot of work to do" following reports that it had the most customer complaints of any British bank.
Ms Botin was questioned by the Treasury Select Committee chairman Andrew Tyrie MP after the Financial Services Authority found that the high-street bank had amassed 216,158 complaints in the first six months of 2010.
It has also repeatedly ranked at the bottom of customer satisfaction polls, the most recent being from Which?, MoneySavingExpert.com and JD Power & Associates.
Santander's service levels are said to have suffered while it tried to integrate the Abbey and Alliance & Leicester brands acquired in 2004 and 2008 respectively.
The purchase of 318 branches from Royal Bank of Scotland is set to be completed in December 2011.
The bank’s boss told MPs that service was "beginning to improve" by addressing underlying issues such as systems and processes and hiring 1,000 new staff to handle complaints.
She was the latest banking head to face the Treasury Select Committee as part of an inquiry into competition in the sector.
Ms Botin confirmed Santander was still in discussions with the Government over its lending commitments despite pulling out of collective industry talks on bonuses.
As a retail bank without an investment banking arm, the group is said to have felt that limits on bonuses were not relevant as they are a fraction of windfalls at rival firms.
However Ms Botin revealed that her bonus last year was £1.4m, but did not discuss the remuneration details of her new role.
She became the UK's first female bank boss on December 1 after her predecessor Antonio Horta-Osorio left to head up Lloyds Banking Group.
An experienced banker herself, she is the daughter of Santander chairman Emilio Botin.
Source: Sky News
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