Europe's second biggest bank, Santander, will slash 1,900 jobs at its three British subsidiaries next year, the Spanish group said today, as it seeks to implement planned cost cuts.

The losses, which amount to about 8% of Santander's British workforce, will affect lenders Abbey, Alliance & Leicester, and Bradford & Bingley.

Santander acquired the latter two banks earlier this year as the credit crunch takes its toll on British lenders.

Santander said it plans to continue to grow its UK business.

The cuts are part of plans to save £180m (€200m) by the end of 2011, after its takeover of Alliance & Leicester.

Santander said that there were no plans to close major offices, but added that some smaller sites would be merged. It also said that most of the job losses would be in back office and operational roles and include head office positions.

According to the Communication Workers Union, the job losses would be voluntary.

The banking group announced in October that its third quarter net profit rose 4.3% to €2.2 billion , adding that it was on track for record full-year profit.

Unlike rival banking groups across Europe, Santander is in relatively good health, having avoided some of the problems in the US home loan derivatives market that have sunk many of its peers.