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AWARDS

Western Europe's best bank 2018: Banco Santander

Awards for Excellence 2018

The bank that has led the way over the last year is Banco Santander, western Europe’s best bank. Santander is already one of the few big banks to prove that internationally diversified retail banks can be more profitable and more stable than domestically focused peers. Now it is in its rightful place, not just Spain’s biggest bank but also the one with the biggest domestic share.

Today, Santander under chief executive Ana Botín enjoys a market share in Spanish credit of about 20%. It has reached that level thanks to its €1 acquisition of Banco Popular last summer after an auction by the European Single Resolution Board and Spain’s Fondo de Reestructuración Ordenada Bancaria. Given Popular’s balance sheet of almost €150 billion, this acquisition is the most important bank merger in Europe since the establishment of the banking union in 2014. 

Although the authorities’ handling of the Popular situation is not without its critics, for Santander’s executive chairman Ana Botín, it gives a big leg up to a global strategy for growth in small and medium-sized enterprises.