SPANISH banking giant Santander is to dress up its UK subsidiaries with a series of jolly, bright red bow ties, it was confirmed last night.
The group, which took control of Abbey National in 2004 after losing a bet in a pub, said the £50m plan would help to divert consumers from all the stinking heaps of fresh dung.
From July, the Abbey, Bradford & Bingley and Alliance & Leicester will be rebranded as 'Santander', a name that, according to some experts, is not only different from the previous names, but also comes across as decidedly foreign.
Martin Bishop, banking analyst at Donnelly-McPartlin, said: "It is difficult to change perceptions when an entire industry has been acting like crackheads rampaging through a Mexican casino at the end of Oliver Reed's stag night.
"But the clever thing Santander has done is to change all the signs, thereby making all the senior executives much better at their jobs."
Mr Bishop said the foreign-sounding name marked a watershed moment in British finance, adding: "Our banking industry is now held in such contempt that customers may actually feel safer handing their money to people who are openly Spanish.
"They seem unperturbed at the prospect of their hard-earned salary being used to do unspeakable things to donkeys and feel-up their teenage cousins, or just laze around all afternoon not doing what it's told.
"Who knows? In a few years time we may even have summoned up the courage to give our money to a Frenchman."