Alliance & Leicester

Alliance & Leicester

Alliance & Leicester is a British bank and former building society.

Formed in 1985 through a merger of the Alliance Building Society and the Leicester Building Society, Alliance & Leicester became a bank in 1997 when it was floated on the London Stock Exchange. Formerly listed in the FTSE 250 Index, having been a FTSE 100 constituent from April 1997 to June 2008, Alliance & Leicester was acquired by the Spanish firm Banco Santander in October 2008. Its headquarters are in Carlton Park, a business park in Narborough, south of Leicester in England. The group also has premises in Bootle, Manchester, Wigan, Leeds, Ashford and Belfast, and all its contact centres are UK based.


The former building society was formed by the merger of the Alliance Building Society (originally based in and called the Brighton & Sussex) and the Leicester Building Society on 1 October 1985. In 1990, the society acquired Girobank, a major provider of cash-handling services to the government and large companies and current accounts, from the Post Office. With other large building societies such as Halifax and Woolwich, Alliance & Leicester decided to float on the London Stock Exchange, generating windfall payments to members worth up to £5,000 each. Flotation took place on 21 April 1997.

Acquisition by Grupo Santander

On 14 July 2008 the board of A&L recommended that shareholders accept a takeover bid from Grupo Santander for around £1.26 billion. This recommendation was ratified by shareholders at meetings on 16 September 2008. Given Santander's current presence in the UK and synergies in the mortgage market, the firm intends to merge A&L with its existing UK subsidiary Abbey. The takeover took effect on 10 October 2008 when shares of the company were delisted from the London Stock Exchange.


The four business sectors are:

  1. mortgage lending & investments
  2. personal banking
  3. commercial banking
  4. treasury

The Group provides general insurance, life assurance, unit trusts, personal current accounts and credit cards, asset financing and commercial lending. Its main retail business is in the United Kingdom concentrating on mortgages, current accounts, savings and personal loans. The Group is also endeavouring to expand its commercial operations through ALCB (Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank). The Group's provision of retail credit cards is through its partner MBNA, and its provision of investments and insurance are through Legal & General, and Zurich respectively.

Alliance & Leicester has a subsidiary operating in the international market and based on the Isle of Man.


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