World's best bank for SMEs 2017: Banco Santander
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World's best bank for SMEs 2017: Banco Santander

Two years into its small and medium-sized enterprise initiative, the bank is working hard at its focused sector offering. It is paying off.

Awards for Excellence 2017

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Also shortlisted
   Lloyds Banking Group 
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Santander launched its global initiative for small and medium-sized enterprises in 2015, so this year’s awards process provided a good opportunity to examine how much progress has been made. In terms of sheer numbers, there is no doubt that it has proved popular with the firms that it is designed to help: in 2015, there were 46,100 participants in the programme; in 2016, this number had jumped to 70,700. The goal for 2017 is for 90,000 firms to be involved. 

A key strength of the Spanish bank in this sector is its global approach to what is a very domestically focused activity. Santander has a global-team equivalent of 15 to 20 full-time staff led by the retail and commercial banking division, which works with other core units such as risk, universities, marketing and technology. Below this there are local mirror teams led by country heads that implement the SME strategy, adapting to local requirements. The SME initiative has been rolled out in nine of the 10 countries in which Santander is present.

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