Last updated: 12:01 / Thursday, 29 October 2020
Annual general meeting

Santander Combines Openbank and Santander Consumer Finance to Create a Global Digital Bank

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  • This global business builds on Santander Consumer Finance’s scale and presence in Europe as well as the Openbank digital platform
  • Another initiative aims to implement a common operating and business model across all markets under the name of “One Santander”
  • The bank also seeks to create payment solutions to compete with large platforms

Banco Santander’s group executive chairman, Ana Botín, announced plans to create a global native digital consumer bank with the combination of Openbank and Santander Consumer Finance. The entity stated in a press release that this is one of its three initiatives to become “the best open financial services platform”, and it was revealed by Botín last week in at the annual general meeting with shareholders.

This global native digital consumer lending business builds on Santander Consumer Finance’s scale and presence in Europe as well as the Openbank digital platform. “SCF and Openbank are two businesses with excellent potential for growth. SCF, Europe’s consumer finance leader, serves over 20 million customers in 15 markets. Openbank is outperforming -and outgrowing- European digital banks in deposits, with a full-fledged retail product suite marketed on an innovative, scalable and efficient banking platform, a software built by us”, Santander’s chairman said.

Another initiative aims to implement a common operating and business model across all markets under the name of “One Santander”, a process which is already under way at its four banks in Europe. Botín pointed out that, with this new model, they will “simplify products and services to improve the customer experience; and also boost innovation”, taking advantage of their four digital capabilities to redesign distribution and automate their processes on a common platform.

Lastly, the third initiative seeks to create payment solutions to compete with large platforms. In that sense, Santander will combine its payments businesses into a single, autonomous and wholly-owned company, which “with the scale, the right talent, processes and governance, will form a powerful ecosystem of payment solutions”.

Banks have a “critical” role

Botín outlined these plans in her speech during the Group’s annual general meeting celebrated last week, where shareholders approved the capital increase to distribute new shares equivalent to 0.10 euros per share as additional compensation for 2019, to be paid this year. This would bring total shareholder compensation for the year to 0.20 euros per share.

In the meeting, Santander’s chairman also pointed out that banks have “a critical role” to play in the COVID-19 crisis. “We are part of the solution”, she added, going on to underline how banks can contribute to “mobilizing the resources needed to get the country up and running as soon as possible, channeling liquidity to projects which create jobs, and helping shape the digital, sustainable economy”.

Botín expressed conviction that the company will come away from this crisis stronger: “We are determined to help businesses and communities across the world, to build back better, and use this as an opportunity to address global challenges such as inequality and climate change. This is the right thing to do and the path to generate value for our shareholders”, she concluded.

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