Western Europe's best bank bank for SMEs 2019: Banco Santander
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Western Europe's best bank bank for SMEs 2019: Banco Santander

Awards for Excellence 2019

Banks’ track record on lending to small and medium-sized enterprises, the growth driver of the economy, remains a mixed one in Europe. 

Mutual and public-sector banks, less focused on returns, still dominate the sector in France and Germany. SME loan books in countries such as Italy and Greece continue to need restructuring. 

In the UK, sometimes regarded as the most business-friendly of the big European economies, the reputation of the big banks has continued to be poor in the SME sector.

Spain has now emerged as the big western European country with the most aggressively contested SME banking market. Deleveraging and ultra-low margins in mortgages have seen the leading banks look to grow their SME share in an economy also enjoying relatively strong rates of growth in a European context.

Western Europe’s best bank for SMEs, Banco Santander, has attained the dominant share of this coveted sector in Spain thanks to its 2017 acquisition of Banco Popular. It is reinforcing this position; in 2018 it signed four new agreements with the European Investment bank to provide Spanish SMEs with a total of €875 million of funding on advantageous terms.

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