Bank hands out millions in Christmas blunder

Santander is now racing to recoup the cash

Spanish bank Santander has mistakenly paid out £130 million ($175 million) to nearly 75,000 people and businesses in the UK in a Christmas Day slip-up. The lender is now racing to retrieve the lost funds.

The blunder occurred on December 25, when payments from 2,000 business accounts were made twice.

“We’re sorry that due to a technical issue, some payments from our corporate clients were incorrectly duplicated on the recipients’ accounts,” a spokesperson for Banco Santander said.

“None of our clients were at any point left out of pocket as a result and we will be working hard with many banks across the UK to recover the duplicated transactions over the coming days.”

The money reportedly went to accounts at such banks as Barclays, HSBC, NatWest, Co-operative Bank, and Virgin Money UK.

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The lenders are expected to “look to recover the money from their customers’ accounts,” Santander said, stressing that it may contact people directly to get the money back.

However, it’s not yet clear how the financial institutions will react if customers have already spent the funds, as returning the money may push them into an overdraft.

Santander runs 450 branches across the UK, and employs 20,000 British staff. The bank manages £209 billion in customer loans and £201 billion of client funds.

The accidental payments reportedly came out of Santander’s own reserves, meaning its clients weren’t affected.

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