Latin America: Santander Brasil focuses on its goals, not the misses
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Latin America: Santander Brasil focuses on its goals, not the misses

Santander Brasil lost out to rivals Itaú and Bradesco as other foreign banks put their businesses on the block. It might not be a bad thing. The bank is the momentum story in a tough market. But just how far can it grow?

Angel Santodomingo-300.

Santander Brasil’s CFO
Angel Santodomingo

Angel Santodomingo, Santander Brasil’s CFO, has had a ringside seat for the latest round of consolidation in the country’s retail banking sector. As HSBC and then Citi put their Brazilian retail operations up for sale, the Spanish-headquartered bank (although it is listed in Brazil) participated in both auctions. It was not to be successful in either of its bids, with the country’s two dominant private-sector banks each taking one apiece. 

Analysts had been quick to point out that either would have been better for Santander, which is currently ranked third-largest private bank with its 12% market share, than it was for Itaú or Bradesco. For these domestic players, neither acquisition can be labelled ‘transformational’. 

But as Santodomingo greets Euromoney on the 27th floor of a shiny tower that casts its shadow over one of São Paulo’s newest, most expensive – and not coincidentally emptiest – shopping malls, he appears far from dismayed at being priced out of these opportunities for acquisitive growth. Because gradually but surely, Santander is becoming the momentum story in the market.

“The interesting thing with big inorganic operations that make strategic sense is that they contain a hidden cost, which is destruction,” he says.

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