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BANKING

Santander: Sáenz plots a course through the uncertainty

Santander has been one of the winners of the credit crunch. Its chief executive, Alfredo Sáenz, believes the bank’s success has been due to sticking to a model that was appropriate through the cycle. Euromoney asks him how the bank is adapting to pressures from the market and the regulators.

Alfredo Sáenz, Santander

"Our job is to continue creating value for our shareholders over the long term and to manage our bank as well as we possibly can. This should be our main contribution to the financial system’s strength"

Alfredo Sáenz, Santander

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Is regulatory risk the biggest issue facing your bank today?

Alfredo Sáenz, Santander

Regulatory risk has certainly grown in importance since the onset of the financial crisis. Some of the proposed reforms could create unnecessary constraints in the industry without the benefit of preventing future crises. I believe the focus should be on improving supervision, which was the main failure behind the current crisis, rather than increasing regulation.

But besides regulatory risk I am also worried about the possible distortions to competition from public support to banks, which threatens to skew the level playing field.

That said, the biggest issues facing Santander continue, for the most part, to be those the bank manages at any time in the cycle: how to successfully integrate acquisitions, maintain the highest standards in credit risk management and control, continue to improve efficiency, best allocate capital and other resources, ensure profitability for our shareholders and best serve our 90 million customers.

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