The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Merger faces the strains of success

The continuing success of the bank now known as Santander Central Hispano in growing profit, forging alliances elsewhere in Europe and taking major market shares in Latin America is a tribute to the skills of the two banks that came together to form it. But behind this public face the marriage of two distinct banking cultures has not come easy.

Few banks know more about the agony and the ecstasy of merging two distinct business cultures than the recently renamed Santander Central Hispano. The Spanish bank's two years of existence as a merged entity have been dogged by a bitter power struggle. This culminated in the summer in blood on the carpet after a spectacular boardroom row led to the departure of one of the two men supposed to meld its two parts into a seamless whole (see page 30). Even what to call the merged entity remains a matter of contention: the abandonment of the BSCH (Banco Santander Central Hispano) branding leaves Santander as the key name and threatens to cast Central Hispano into oblivion.

For all that, what is now Spain's largest banking group has been thriving commercially. It's one of a new breed of Spanish banks, thrusting and global in focus, that have made their lumbering rivals in the UK, France and Germany look staid. Santander Central Hispano has not only taken audacious footholds in Latin America, it has also built cross-shareholdings in other banks across Europe that might one day put it at the head of a powerful grouping that can take full advantage of the single European currency.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree