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Opinion

Santander’s second LatAm engine

Santander’s Brazilian bank took lots of deserved acclaim when Santander released its global third-quarter results, but keep an eye on Mexico.

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While profits in the UK slipped by 13% in the first three months of the year, the bank beat estimates thanks largely to the Brazilian bank’s latest blockbuster result.

In the third quarter, Santander’s Brazilian business grew earnings by 20% year-over-year to reach R$3.1 billion and it is now the biggest individual contributor to Santander’s profits.

The rise of Santander Brasil is now well known. It can be traced to the appointment of its CEO Sergio Rial in September 2015 and Euromoney was one of the first to recognise Rial’s turnaround when we named the bank as the best bank in Brazil in July 2017.

The reasons for this were clear to us: between the first quarters of 2016 and 2017, the bank increased its customer base by half a million, to 3.7 million, and increased fees by 24.3%, revenues by 16.7%, net income by 37.3% and lowered non-performing loans by 40 basis points to 2.9%.

Digital transformation has been at the heart of the turnaround strategy and it helped to lower the bank’s efficiency ratio to 44.9% from 50.3% in just one year, and its return on equity (ROE) leapt to 15.9%




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