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Western Europe’s best bank 2022: Banco Santander

Banking in Europe remains a national sport, with only a handful of domestic champions also running large businesses beyond their home markets. Banco Santander is recognized as the region’s best bank this year as a reflection of its progress in moving operations in Portugal, Spain and the UK onto a single operating platform along with those in Poland, which it also includes in its Europe division.

That division serves 46 million customers and contributes one third of the profits of a group that prizes geographic diversification as the best way to withstand periodic setbacks in different regions and countries.

Initiatives are common in corporate and investment banking, but ‘One Santander’ is different. In Europe, Santander already has credit cards on one platform and is moving to do the same for basic retail banking and mortgage lending. The idea is that a simpler, faster service offering will be easier for customers to use, will attract more of them and allow for efficiencies that will boost returns to shareholders.