Business modelBanco Santander has a customer-focused business model that delivers a high level of recurrence in its earnings and results, in spite of the difficult economic and financial circumstances of recent years.This model is supported by five pillars:1) Commercial focus: Santander offers its 91 million customers a wide range of financial products and services through its 13,660 branches, the largest branch network in international banking.2) Efficiency: Santander has one of the most cutting edge technology and operations platforms in international banking, which allows it to turn cost savings into greater value for the customer. It is one of the most efficient banks in the world, with a cost-to-income ratio of 41.7% (37.6% excluding depreciations and amortisations).3) Geographical diversification: Santander ’s geographical diversification is evenly balanced between developed and emerging markets. Its presence is concentrated in 9 major markets: Spain, Portugal, Germany, the UK, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Argentina and the US, and in most of these markets it has attained high market shares in retail banking.4) Prudence in risks: Santander ’s levels of bad debt and coverage are better than the sector average in the geographical areas in which the bank operates. The whole of the organisation is involved in managing risk, from the daily operations carried out in branches up to senior management and the board of directors.The bank’s risk management principles are: independence of the risk function, support of the business while maintaining credit risk quality, committee-based decisions, the use of cutting-edge tools and systems to measure and analyse risk, and the strong involvement of all governing bodies in the management of risk, starting with the Board of Directors.5) Capital discipline and financial strength: Santander is one of the most solid and solvent banks in the world, with a core capital ratio of 8.6% in 2009. Furthermore, the bank maintains a comfortable liquidity position based on funding through customer deposits and medium- to long-term debt issues.Furthermore, Banco Santander maintains a firm commitment to communities in all the countries in which it is present. Its main channel for this commitment is Santander Universities, which has 833 cooperation agreements in place with universities throughout the world. Other CSR actions relating to the environment and social action demonstrate the bank’s strong dedication to sustainable development.All of this positions Santander as one of the most highly valued brands in the finance sector (third in the world according to the consultant Brand Finance). The Santander brand represents the values that make the Group unique: dynamism, strength, innovation, leadership, commercial focus and professional ethics.
The Santander Group is the fourth largest bank in the world by profits and eighth by stock market capitalisation.