Spanish bank Santander is to re-name Abbey, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley in a move marking the end of three historic British banking brands.

Santander said it would re-brand all three banks under its global moniker by the end of 2010 - axing British banking names which date back as far as 1851.

Abbey and the B&B's savings business, snapped up by Santander in 2004 and 2008 respectively, will be the first to go, between January and March next year. A&L will follow later in 2010, according to Santander.

But it will begin introducing the Santander brand this year, by changing over Abbey credit cards under the group name, as well as the commercial and corporate banking arms of Abbey and A&L, which include 20 regional banking centres.

Antonio Horta-Osorio, chief executive of Santander's UK business, said customers would benefit from access to all of the group's 1,300-branch network after the re-brand is complete.

Santander is spending £12m on the move, although it is aiming to save £180m from integrating the three businesses. Around 1,900 jobs have already gone as part of its efforts to combine the acquired banks.

Santander has expanded aggressively in the UK over the past five years, using the banking crisis as an opportunity to buy up struggling rivals. The group is now the UK's second biggest mortgage lender and third largest savings bank following last year's dramatic move to snap up the savings and branch operation of collapsed B&B in October, just a month after its rescue takeover of A&L.

Santander has emerged relatively unscathed from the financial turmoil, picking up swathes of savers searching for safety.