“Latin America is part of our history and our present, and it will be an important part of our future. The region has the resources, social capital and experience necessary to progress and we are going to support communities, clients and companies. , as we have done for the last three decades. ” These words from Ana Botín, president of Banco Santander, during a recent meeting with Latin American journalists are a true reflection of the entity’s bond with America, where it continues to see important growth opportunities to create long-term value.
The bank’s strategy is based on increasing collaboration between markets to better serve its clients and generate commercial flows between markets, in addition to promoting technology and digitization. This work has allowed Santander to be chosen as Best Bank 2021 in America (North and South America) by The Banker magazine, in addition to also obtaining the same award in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Portugal. The publication recognizes the group’s “permanent commitment” to Latin America, where it has built a “solid and profitable network from Mexico to Chile or Argentina.” It also highlights the various initiatives launched by the entity to promote financial inclusion and close the digitization gap between Europe and Latin America.
“After a year of strong results and improved efficiency, we are pleased that the efforts of our teams in America have been recognized with this award. We will continue working every day to strengthen our business and help people and companies to progress ”, he said. José Antonio Álvarez, CEO of Banco Santander.
One of the clearest examples of the bank’s strategy in the region is Superdigital, a digital financial inclusion platform that serves more than 700,000 clients, and whose objective is to reach five million active clients by 2023. It is a digital alternative to cash and is aimed at semi or unbanked people can open an account and manage their money from a mobile phone.
Another of the most prominent solutions for publishing is Getnet, Santander’s merchant payments or acquisition business, which was born in Brazil. It is currently the third largest merchant payments company in Latin America by number of customers and turnover, and the first in electronic commerce in Brazil by market share. Santander is committed to continuing Getnet’s expansion in Latin America and Europe in the short term, in addition to its upcoming arrival in the United States and the United Kingdom. Last year, it processed around € 90 billion in payments worldwide through four billion transactions and it currently has more than 1.2 million clients.
At the local level, some milestones stand out, such as the fact that Santander’s Chilean subsidiary reached a historic year in customer acquisition thanks to the launch of its new Santander Life digital current account; or the plans in Argentina to launch Openbank, the group’s 100% digital bank.
During this year, Santander has continued to promote financial inclusion in the region through microcredit programs that favor access to banking services, such as Tuiio (Mexico), Prospera (Brazil, Uruguay and Colombia), or the recent launch of the Microfinance Arise in Peru.
Financing of renewable energy projects
The Banker also highlights Santander’s work as a financing entity for renewable energy projects in America. Brazil is one of the markets where the bank has prioritized sustainable financing with new solutions. In this sense, Santander’s ESG activity in the country exceeded 4,600 million euros in 2020 alone, in areas such as financing clean energy, green bonds, sustainable agriculture and microcredits.
This year, the entity has obtained other international recognition for their work on sustainability. Among them, Global Finance highlighted Santander Chile in the category “Outstanding Leadership in Sustainable Finance” for Latin America, a distinction also received by the Mexican subsidiary. This award praises the initiatives that the entity has carried out to support its clients in the transition towards a greener economy and thus combat climate change.
Boost to digital transformation and technology in the region
This support to the region translates into a key investment: the group will allocate 5.3 billion euros to digital transformation and technology between 2022 and 2024 in this area to expand the business and continue to improve customer service. This region represents 40% of Santander’s profit, which serves almost 80 million clients (of the 152 million that the group has), mainly in Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. Half of the 193,000 employees of the entity work in Latin America globally.
The numbers speak for themselves: at the end of the third quarter of the year, the ordinary profit of North America, which includes Mexico and the United States, reached 2,288 million euros, more than double the year-on-year comparison (+ 122%). In turn, the result in South America increased by 31%, to 2,471 million euros, in the first nine months of 2021, thanks to the increase in income (+ 11%) and lower provisions (-18%). The bank maintained its goal of profitable growth in the region, deepening digitization and customer loyalty.