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Personal finance correspondent, BBC News
Spanish banking group Santander reported a 35% rise in net profits for the fourth quarter.
Profits hit €2.78bn (£2.35bn), boosted by its key market in Brazil.
For the year, however, profits fell to €12.5bn from €14.2bn in 2018.
Santander said it saw a "slowing economic environment" in 2019 but it said uncertainty would be reduced by easing trade tensions between the US and China and following the general election in the UK in December.
Santander announced it's to cut the interest paid on balances up to £20,000 in its 123 account from 1.5% to 1%. Back in 2016 the popular current account was offering a rate of 3%. Financial campaigner Martin Lewis told BBC Breakfast the cut was a "slap in the face" for consumers. Santander is also joining HSBC and Nationwise in raising the interest rate for arranged overdrafts in response to new FCA rules.
Millions of people with Santander's popular current account face a cut in the interest paid amid changes for savers and borrowers.
The bank has announced that, from 5 May, the interest paid on balances up to £20,000 in its 123 account will be cut from 1.5% to 1%.
The move has prompted one commentator to describe the account as a "dead duck" for savers.
Santander has joined other big brands in setting a 39.9% overdraft rate.
This will take effect on 6 April and comes in response to tough new rules from regulators designed to protect consumers.
Santander’s UK boss will have his pension allowance cut by £436,000 over the next two years, The Guardian reports.
Chief executive Nathan Bostock’s pay in lieu of pension is worth 35% of his £1.7m base salary, far above the 9% offered to the rest of staff.
But the Spanish lender will cut Bostock’s lump sum to about 22% of salary next year before bringing it in line with the staff allowance in 2021.
It will bring his pay in lieu of pension down to £218,000, based on his 2018 salary levels.
Santander UK is not expected to increase other parts of Bostock’s pay package to offset the loss. He was paid a total of £4.6m in 2018.
Santander has bought a majority stake in Ebury - a UK fintech (financial technology) firm for £350m.
The provides small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) with foreign exchange services, cash management and trade finance.
Ana Botin, executive chairman of the Spanish bank, said: "SMEs are becoming increasingly global and Santander is the best-positioned bank to play a leading role to help them access global trade finance.
"By partnering with Ebury, Santander will deliver faster and more efficient products and services for SMEs, previously only accessible to larger corporates."
The UK business of Santander took a major hit from the PPI mis-selling scandal as profits dipped in the first nine months of the year.
Pre-tax profits at Santander UK fell 43% to £785m, as the bank took a £169m charge from PPI.
Meanwhile, economic uncertainty as Brexit and a trade war continue to weigh on the global economy also hit its bottom line.
"Our profitability for the first nine months of 2019 has been impacted by ongoing competitive income pressure, additional PPI costs as well as transformation programme investment," said boss Nathan Bostock.