The world’s best bank for SMEs 2023: Banco Santander
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The world’s best bank for SMEs 2023: Banco Santander

Servicing demanding SME clients pays off if you take the long-term view.

In recent years, banking small and medium-sized enterprises has become an increasingly interesting segment strategically, especially if ‘interesting’ is a euphemism for ‘demanding’. At times, bankers feel that they are required to provide investment banking-level support for their SME clients, while their margins remain much closer to those of mass retail banking.

And the weight of that non-financial advisory support is only getting heavier, with sustainability requirements generating so much client demand.

This year’s winner of the award for the world’s best bank for SMEs, Banco Santander, has decided to embrace the opportunity for forging relationships that these challenges present.

Take the demands of sustainability: SMEs need to meet a wide range of environmental, social and governance-compliance (ESG) criteria, not simply to meet their own ambitions but in order to be part of the supply chains of larger corporates. SMEs simply don’t have the scale to fulfil these functions in-house or to pay large fees to external consultancies.

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