World’s Best Bank for SMEs 2020: Santander
Covid-19 has given the Spanish bank an opportunity to demonstrate the advantages of a global SME franchise, even for clients without international operations.
As many banks refocus on their home markets, Banco Santander is an increasingly rare example of an international retail and commercial lender. Its effort, within this strategy, to develop a global franchise for small and medium-sized enterprises is even rarer today.
The aftermath of Covid-19 could see even more banks cut foreign operations and capital deployments, but Santander has shown the advantages that being part of an international franchise can bring.
The Spanish lender counts about four million SME customers around the world. In recent years, its acquisition of Banco Popular – which already had one of Spain’s best SME franchises – has given it a leading 25% market share among SMEs in its home market, with technological and branch integration completed in mid 2019. In Brazil, its acquisition of merchant payments system Getnet has proven a particularly effective way of boosting SME wallet share in Latin America’s biggest economy.
Santander’s home country was one of the first to be hit hard by the coronavirus.