SPANISH bank Santander has merged the legal teams of Abbey and Alliance & Leicester (A&L) after announcing plans to ditch the two historic high street brands next year.

Santander Group bought A&L for £1.3bn last year and has owned Abbey since 2004.

Lawyers from both banks work under former Abbey legal chief Karen Fortunato, who is Santander’s UK
head of legal and company secretary.

A&L’s top lawyer Carolyn Hay has remained as head of projects. Joshua Box, who was acting head of group legal services at A&L while Hay was on sabbatical last year, has left after a spell as executive assistant to chief executive David Bennett.

Santander took over the branches and deposits of Bradford & Bingley last year, but no legal staff moved to the Spanish bank.