Spanish bank Santander could look at renegotiating Abbey's household insurance contracts with Norwich Union (NU) and Capita, according to director of insurance Richard Field.

Field said he expected a shake-up of both costs and revenues as the new owners of Abbey, Santander, looked to boost overall income across the bank by ¤220m (£154m).

He said: "One of the areas any new owner is going to look at is significant contracts and whether you can do any better deal.

"I have no idea of the time frame for this sort of thing, but so far Santander has been moving very fast with the acquisition."

While Field did not rule out Abbey doing any future deal to underwrite its £300m household book through a competitor banking organisation, he thought it more likely the bank would stay within the composite sector.

He said: "We have done deals with competitor banks before, but I am more comfortable dealing with a company like NU than I would be working with UKI or Royal Bank of Scotland.

"Customers get confused if they think they are coming to Abbey for a product and they find they get that product from another bank."

Santander is understood to be looking at generating revenue growth of E35m (£25m) from the general insurance business, as well as driving through significant cost savings.