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Santander accidentally sent people $175 million on Christmas Day—and now it wants its money back

December 31, 2021, 4:33 PM UTC

Banco Santander inadvertently became Santa Claus to thousands this year.

On Christmas Day, the Spanish lending giant accidentally issued duplicate payments totaling £130 million, or about $175 million, in a string of 75,000 transactions paid out to individuals and companies alike who work for or with 2,000 businesses that are Santander customers in the U.K.

The payouts, which were made from Santander’s own reserves and not from client accounts, stemmed from a scheduling issue that the bank has since fixed.

Santander is now working to retrieve the mistaken payouts, a process that entails working with the recipients’ banks as well as reaching out directly to those who did receive an accidental payment. Among the banks whose customers received a payment in the slip-up are Barclays, HSBC, NatWest, Co-operative Bank, and Virgin Money, according to a report from The Times, which first reported the news.

A spokeserson for Santander told Fortune the recovery process is “underway and working effectively,” though they declined to say how much has been recovered so far.

“We’re sorry that due to a technical issue, some payments from our corporate clients were incorrectly duplicated on the recipients’ accounts,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “None of our clients were at any point left out of pocket as a result and we will be working hard with many banks across the U.K. to recover the duplicated transactions over the coming days.”

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