Santander is considering listing its US car financing division for as much as $6bn (£3.75bn) in the first half of 2013, as it sells off overseas businesses in the wake of poor economic conditions in Spain.

The business, based in Fort Worth, Texas, offers loans through more than 13,000 US car dealers and has a loan portfolio of about $18bn (£11.26bn).

The potential listing is envisaged in a deal signed last year with other shareholders. "The IPO of Santander Consumer USA is included in the shareholders’ agreement signed in October 2011 with our partners," a Santander spokeswoman said.

Santander owns 65% of Santander Consumer USA (SCUSA), with KKR & Co, Warburg Pincus, and Centerbridge Partners having a combined 25% stake and 10% belonging to Dundon DFS.

Santander raised $4bn in a US listing of its Mexican banking business in September. It has already listed its Brazilian and Chilean arms, and its Argentine and UK businesses are expected to follow.

The bank has weathered Spain’s property market crash and sovereign debt crisis better than its rivals because it makes less than a fifth of its profit in the country after years of expansion abroad.

In the UK, however, Santander Consumer Finance has made aggressive strides into new and manufacturer retail by starting a joint venture with Hyundai and competing with GMAC over Vauxhall’s 0% Flexible Finance package.