Spain's Santander is closing 56 branches in Britain to remove overlap in its network after it bolted together three separate businesses, which left it with two branches side by side in some places.

Santander's purchase of Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley during the 2008 financial crisis came four years after it bought Abbey National and left it with multiple branches in some towns, and it is now closing sites where there is a clear overlap.

Santander, which is gearing up to spin off and float its British business next year, said the process should be completed by the end of this year and there will not be any job cuts.

The bank has 1,378 UK branches. Last year it bought 318 branches from Royal Bank of Scotland, but the integration of those has been delayed and they are not part of the branch closures.

(Reporting by Steve Slater; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)