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Santander absorbing 2 subsidiaries

Santander owns 90 percent of Banesto, once a top Spanish bank. In the United States, it owns Sovereign.

Andrea Comas/Reuters

Santander owns 90 percent of Banesto, once a top Spanish bank. In the United States, it owns Sovereign.

MADRID — Spain’s Banco Santander, the biggest bank by market value in the 17-country eurozone, said Monday that it will absorb two subsidiaries, Banesto and Banif, leading to job cuts and branch closings.

The move is part of a broader restructuring of Spain’s fragile financial system, which was hit hard by the collapse of the property market in 2008. The government is pushing for mergers and takeovers to create fewer but sturdier banks.

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Santander’s fusion, to be completed in May, will save money through the integration of services and the closing of 700 branches, Santander said.

It said it would reduce staff gradually but gave no figures as to how many people it would let go.

Banco Santander SA owns some 90 percent of Banesto, which was once one of Spain’s top banks.

Santander acquired the private bank Banif after it merged with Banco Central Hispano in 1999.

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