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Botín: the man and his mission

The masters of retail bankingGetting back to the Abbey habit | Awards for excellence - Best bank

Emilio Botín is the third generation of the Botín family to run Santander. He became chairman of the bank in 1986 when his father, Emilio Sr, reluctantly stepped down at the age of 83.

Now 71, the current patriarch of the dynasty shows no sign of slowing down. On the day before he spoke to Euromoney's Clive Horwood, he flew into London Heathrow. As soon as he disembarked, he headed off to play golf, his favourite pastime – not to one of the capital's prestige clubs, such as Wentworth or Sunningdale, but to an unassuming public course a few miles from the airport.

But Botín is never really off duty. After the round, he visited the club's pro shop, and asked the professional where he banked. The answer was Abbey. Botín asked where the nearest branch was. It was half a mile up the road. Botín dropped by to check the branch out on the way into London.

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