London, England (CNN) -- Spanish banking giant Santander on Monday began its campaign to rename hundreds of Abbey and Bradford and Bingley bank branches across Britain.
The banking group acquired Abbey in 2004, before it purchased Bradford & Bingley and the Alliance & Leicester in 2008.
The first of 300 official Santander branches in the south-east of England was launched in London Monday morning by Banco Santander Chairman Emilio Botín, with a further 700 branches across the UK expected to follow suit by the end of January.
In a statement Botin said: "This is a historic day for Santander as its name is firmly established on the UK high street.
"When Santander acquired Abbey in 2004, there were some who doubted we could make it a success. Today, there can be no doubts.
"Over the last five years we have transformed our UK business into one of the most successful banks in the country. The decision to become Santander will put us in an even stronger position the UK."
António Horta-Osório, Chief Executive of Santander UK, added: "The success of our UK business has given us the confidence to move to the Santander name now and with it deliver the next phase of our transformation program and make 1,300 branches available to our 25 million customers in the UK.
"I am confident that this is a very positive move - both for our customers and our employees."
Over the next few years, Santander says it aims to increase the number of products each of its customers hold through increasingly competitive and market-leading products to its customer base.
At the end of 2008, Santander, which was founded in 1857, was the largest bank in the euro zone by market capitalization and third in the world by profit. It has has 90 million customers, around 14,000 branches -- more than any other international bank -- and over 170,000 employees.