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Infobae.com - July 6th 2007Infobae.com – 07/06/2007
The Spanish bank announced the investment of 2,000 million dollars in Latin America. The expansion strategy includes opening 1,000 new offices, installing 5,000 ATMs and creating 6,000 job positions in the next 2 years.
“We will give a strong impulse to the bancarization of the region through the Banca Comercial 20.10 Project. We will consolidate our position as leader in relationships with individuals, homes, small and medium companies and microentrepreneurs”, said Francisco Luzón, councellor and general manager of Santander.
The head of the America Division showed optimism based on “the economic bonanza in Latin America”, with growth rates above 4% and low inflation, “which is favoring poverty reduction and developing a middle class society”.
The bank’s strategic plan 2007-2009 involves strong investment in capacity, opening 945 new offices and sales offices that will take the total amount to 5,015 distribution points by the end of 2009, he explained.
According to March 2007 records, Santander has 368 offices in Argentina, all under the Santander Río trademark.
Santander will also install 5,000 new ATMs, thus taking the total number to 20,000, and with 3,600 new call centers the total will be of 11,400.
The bank’s objective is to have more than 30 million clients within 3 years and this implies attracting more than 9 million clients and reaching a total of 1.2 million small and medium companies clients.
“This capacity growth will allow Santander to deepen its philosophy of developing closeness with clients, making it easier for them to have access to the bank and its services”, Luzón said at the VI Santander-Latinoamérica Meeting, a course organized by Banco Santander and Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo (UIMP).
“The new offices and ATMs and the modernization of the net of Southamerican branches will mean an investment of 800 million dollars over the period 2006-2009 and will generate over 6,000 job positions”, Luzón added.
To attract and retain clients, Santander “will increase the offer of products that clients look for” and will impulse the use of services such as address lists (target: 8 million; present: 5 million), credit and debit cards (targets: up to 19 million credit cards and 28 million debit cards), consumer loans and insurance policies”.
“These products, plus the mortgage loans offered in those countries with macroenomic stability, will be the key to the development of bancarization in the region”, said Mr Luzón.
“Bidding not only on the high class but also on the present and future middle classes –that is, support the present low class and microentrepreneurs- is a safe and winning bid”, according to Luzón.
Banco Santander seeks to “become the best wholesale banking institution of the region and a referent for companies and large companies in all the countries where we operate, specially Brazil, Mexico and Chile”.
“Our wholesale banking will support projects ongoing in several countries for developing infrastructures and strategic areas, for activating the capital markets and the internationalization of large companies”, Luzón said.
Luzón also remarked that Santander Group “will back the progress of the countries of the region, keeping and intensifying our contribution and support to universities and their investigation work.”
Santander announced that during the first nine months the project shows an increase of 206 new offices and sales points, 3,400 new employees and 2 million new clients in their client base.
“Our growth rate is 22%, with 20% increase in savings deposits and 30% increase in commercial banking investment on credit.”
The clients’ area of the business has a growth rate of 24%, according to Luzón.
Santander is the main financial group in Spain and number one in stock capitalization in the euro area.
Santander is the largest banking franchise in Latin America and handles a USD 250,000 million business volume (credits, deposits, investment and retirement funds and patrimonies managed) in over 4,000 sales points.
Santander’s 2006 regional net benefit was USD 2,866 millions, 29% higher than the previous year.
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