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Banking: Santander goes global

Vallimarescu eyes opportunities in local markets.

Dan Vallimarescu, BSCH Dan Vallimarescu: an eye on local markets

Long-time observers of Banco Santander might have been surprised when they received its 2005 annual report: “multilocal”, the international bank’s buzzword of choice for most of the previous decade, had been supplanted by a more conventionally global vision.

Santander’s 2004 acquisition of UK mortgage bank Abbey, it seems, was more transformattional than many had suspected, and pushed Santander’s balance sheet to the size where the bank simply had to start thinking and acting globally.

When Santander decided to merge a number of business units, consolidating existing operations at a loosely linked set of first-rate retail banks, it was clear from the start that the biggest and most important of the new global units would be what Santander continues to call its global wholesale bank.

Customer firepower

As the name implies, it’s not a fully fledged investment bank: you’re unlikely to see Santander topping M&A league tables soon, although such services are there for clients that want them. Rather, it’s an attempt to give Santander’s large corporate clients the kind of firepower that comes with being the eighth most profitable and ninth largest bank in the world, with $53.6

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