Grupo Santander

Grupo Santander (, ; ; ) is a banking group centered on Banco Santander, the largest bank in Spain, which originated in Santander, Cantabria, Spain. As of June 2008, it is the second largest bank in Europe in terms of market capitalization (behind HSBC), and also has numerous operations in Latin America. It has rebranded most of the subsidiaries it has acquired to Santander.

Grupo Santander consists of 131,819 employees, 65.1 million customers, 11,178 branches and 2.27 million shareholders. Retail banking - the main aspect of Santander's operations - generates 82% of the group's profit. The group is amongst the top ten banking organisations in the world and is the biggest bank in the Eurozone by market cap. Currently, they are a corporate sponsor of the McLaren-Mercedes Formula 1 team and the Copa Libertadores de America.


The 1999 merger of Banco Santander (founded in 1857) and Banco Central Hispano (founded in 1991 following the merger of Banco Central [est. 1919] and Banco Hispanoamericano [est. 1900]), created Banco Santander Central Hispano, or BSCH. On 13 August 2007, Banco Santander Central Hispano changed its legal name to Banco Santander.

On 26 July 2004 Abbey National plc (in the United Kingdom) and Banco Santander Central Hispano announced that they had reached agreement on the terms of a recommended acquisition by Banco Santander of Abbey. Following shareholders' approval at the EGMs of Abbey (95 per cent voted in favour, despite vocal opposition from most of those present) and Santander, the acquisition was formally approved by the courts and Abbey became part of Grupo Santander on 12 November 2004.

In June 2006, Banco Santander Central Hispano purchased almost 20% of Sovereign Bank (in the United States) for $2.4 billion. As Banco Santander owns 25% of Sovereign, it has the right to buy the bank for $40 per share for one year beginning in the middle of 2008.

In May 2007 Banco Santander Central Hispano announced that in conjunction with Royal Bank of Scotland and Fortis it would make an offer for ABN AMRO. BSCH's share of the offer added up to 28% and the offer would have to be made up of a capital increase through a new share issue. Then in October 2007 the consortium outbid Barclays and acquired ABN AMRO. As part of the deal, Grupo Santander acquired ABN AMRO's subsidiary in Brazil, Banco Real, and its subsidiary in Italy, Banca Antonveneta. In November 2007, it sold Banca Antonveneta to Monte dei Paschi di Siena. In March 2008, Banco Santander sold Interbanca, a subsidiary of Banca Antonveneta, to GE Commercial Finance, receiving in return GE Money businesses in Germany, Finland and Austria, and GE's Card and Auto Financing Businesses in the UK, which it will integrate into Santander Consumer Finance. In July 2008, Grupo Santander announced its intended takeover of the UK's Alliance & Leicester bank, with £24bn in deposits and 254 branches. In September 2008, Grupo Santander announced that it will acquire the savings business of UK bank Bradford & Bingley (B&B), with deposits of £22bn, 2.6m customers, 197 branches and 140 agencies, from the UK government, two days after the government had nationalised B&B.


Shareholders of banks acquired by Banco Santander retain the same number of shares they bought originally, but they are renamed to Santander. The most recent example is with Abbey National shares, where the bank was delisted from the London Stock Exchange and then relisted, but under the name of Banco Santander Central Hispano.

The Five Pillar Business Model

Banco Santander states that it has its own business model, based upon a five pillar system. These are:

  • Customer-focused management
  • Efficiency
  • Credit risk quality
  • Capital discipline
  • "Multilocal" management with a global vision


Santander is one of the banks providing senior debt for the controversial M3 Motorway being built in Ireland, through the Hill of Tara archaeological complex.

Global Units

European Operations


  • Santander Consumer Bank Austria AG

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Nova Santander Banka d.o.o. Trebinje

Czech Republic

  • Santander Consumer Finance a.s.





  • Santander Consumer


  • Abbey International


  • Santander Consumer Finance BV (Abfin)



  • Santander Consumer Bank S.A.




United Kingdom

Latin American Operations







Puerto Rico


Asian Operations

  • Banco Santander, S.A. - Hong Kong Branch
  • Banco Santander, S.A. - Shanghai Branch

African Operations

North American Operations


  • Santander Private Banking
  • Sovereign Bank - The group owns 24.99% of the common stock of Sovereign Bank and has the option to buy the remaining shares. If they purchase the entire bank, it would probably be renamed, and Santander would have its first retail bank in the mainland United States, since they have been in Puerto Rico since 1976.
  • Santander Consumer USA Inc. d/b/a Drive is a specialized consumer finance company engaged in the purchase, securitization, and servicing of retail installment contracts. Drive acquires installment contracts principally from manufacturer-franchised dealers in conjunction with their sale of used and new automobiles and light duty trucks to borrowers with limited credit histories or past credit problems (non-prime consumers). At the present time, Drive does not extend credit directly to consumers, nor does it purchase installment contracts from other financial institutions.

See also


External links

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