Sat, Dec 25, 2010 - Page 6 News List

Bank sends statements to wrong addresses in UK

The Guardian, LONDON

Spanish bank Santander has admitted sending up to 35,000 UK customers’ bank statements to the wrong addresses.

The firm, in the UK recently voted the worst bank for customer service, said a printing error led to customers being sent the first page of their own bank statement along with the second and third pages of another customer’s.

The bank has written to affected customers, informed the UK financial sector watchdog the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and has warned branch and customer services staff not to reveal account information to anyone without adhering to formal security procedures.

Santander said the statements included customers’ names, account numbers and details of transactions they had carried out, although the bank denied suggestions that it was enough information to enable someone to commit fraud on customers’ accounts.

The error, a possible breach of the Data Protection Act, piles pressure on Santander’s new UK chief executive, Ana Patricia Botin, daughter of the global head of Santander Emilio Botin. She replaced Antonio Horta-Osorio, who defected to take charge of rival Lloyds Banking Group last month.

“We are sorry for any inconvenience this has caused and have taken immediate steps to correct this. We take the security of customer and account information extremely seriously, so any incident of this nature is treated with the highest priority. We want to reassure customers that the risk of fraud on their account has not been increased because of this error and that this is a one-off incident,” a Santander spokesman said.

Santander said none of the bank statements that were sent to the wrong address contained information on customers’ addresses.

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