Banco Santander SA is set to capitalize on the strong reputation it built during the financial crisis, rebranding its U.K. assets, including Abbey National PLC, under the parent's name, the first of many steps expected to reshape the U.K. banking system.

The Madrid banking company entered the U.K. market when it bought Abbey in 2004. In 2008, it added the British banks Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley.

Abbey and Bradford & Bingley are to be rebranded with the Santander name on Jan. 11, and Alliance & Leicester is to take the Spanish company's name in the fourth quarter.

Santander is the second-largest bank in Europe by market value, behind HSBC Holdings PLC.

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