Ana Botín, president of Banco Santander, emphasized that the entity “has the values of a family business and a long-term vision” during her participation in the Family Business Congress held in Bilbao. “In recent years we have tripled the dividend per share but at the same time we are investing 2.5 billion per year in the transformation of the bank. We need to generate income now but not only now, but also in a hundred years.”
To do this, as he said, “we must create a global and open financial services platform. Our big challenge is to transform ourselves to be able to compete and be sustainable over time , to be able to compete on big platforms, because our biggest competitor is Apple. New customers go to new competitors.”
The fact is that the struggle to get savings is intensifying as the scenario of higher interest rates is consolidated and banks are experiencing deposit drops, in part because they offer worse performance than other alternatives are emerging.
Apple has landed in financial services and thus launched this year a high-profit savings account called Savings (savings in English) for users of the Apple Card, its credit card. The technology giant offers two claims: the rate of 4.15% per year, more than ten times the national average of what conventional entities offer, and the ease of establishing it through the Wallet application this.
The president of Santander defended, on the other hand, that “giving profit is healthy because it is the best way to help society”, remembering that “Santander allocates a third of its profit to paying taxes, the one third to pay the shareholder and the third to give credit”.
Also, he emphasized that sometimes when you buy you need to explain the culture you are betting on. “When you put two drunkards in a bar, what you get is not a sober person,” he joked about bank mergers, recalling bank acquisitions in the United Kingdom. “The first thing you need is leadership and you need the right people and in England we had to make a lot of changes,” he recalled.
Like the president of the Family Business Institute, Andrés Sendagorta, Ana Botín emphasized the “imbalance between supply and demand.” In this sense, he emphasized the importance of diversity, “because not everyone needs to have a university degree.” “This is important. We have 165 million clients of all kinds and we need diversity in the workforce,” putting special emphasis on female talent “although I don’t believe in quotas.”
“We need companies”
Botín emphasized in his speech in a dialogue with Sabina Fluxá, vice president and CEO of the Iberostar Group, that “we need companies to make society work” and showed, equally, his concern about the geopolitical context. “We are in an increasingly uncertain world, which not only affects governments, but also companies,” he said. Botín assured that the elephant in the room is “relations between the United States and China”, because of what it means for the supply chain and data management.
Regarding sustainability, he emphasized that “it is not possible to have only one brown or green because we also need to finance the transition and we are not on that path in Europe and now you are either green or brown.” Botín stressed that “governments have an important role” and emphasized that “companies are doing more than they ask us but we need the support of the institutions.” “This transition must be paid for and the big challenge is who pays for it. The rules they have set for us must allow us to finance this transition,” he concluded.