Santander Bank: From humble beginnings to worldwide dominance

26/03/2014 | Marta Crespo Fernández (Alumna UC)

Everybody knows that there is a bank whose name is “Santander Bank”. However, there are few people that know how Santander Bank was founded. I am going to explain its evolution. In the beginning it was little, but nowadays it is so big that it is amazing.

Santander Bank was founded in 1857 by Jerónimo Roiz de la Parra, Juan de Abarca, Antonio Labat, Bonifacio Ferrer de la Vega, Antonio López Dóriga and Agustín Gutiérrez. They were all from the city of Santander. In 1857 Isabel II was the Queen of Spain.

At first, Santander Bank was created because of the business opportunities related to the exportation of wheat and grain through the port of Santander and because of the imports of American products, too. The bank was even able to issue money until 1857 because monetary policy was very different back then. For this reason the bank decided to create a new credit-lending corporation formed by the same shareholders and the assets and liabilities of the original bank. So Santander Bank became a commercial bank in 1875.

The bank´s expansion began throughout Cantabria in 1923. Emilio Botín López was the first person of the Botín family to join Santander Bank. He was responsible for the takeovers of Mercantile Bank, Continental Bank, and Spanish Commercial Bank, Cataluña Commercial Bank and Bank of Murcia. He was also responsible for the enormous expansion of the group. He was the grandfather of Emilio Botín who is the group´s president today.

Later, in 1994 Santander acquired the Spanish Credit Bank. Thanks to this, Santander Bank became the number one bank in the Spanish market. The largest bank merger in the Eurozone was made by Santander Bank and Hispanic Central Bank in 2000. They formed the largest financial institution in Spain and became a leader in Latin America.

To finish, I should mention that in 2007 Santander Bank was the seventh in profits worldwide. During 2012, it was named “Best Bank in the World” by the financial magazine “Euromoney”. It has also been named “Bank of the Year” in the UK, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Argentina and Puerto Rico by the magazine “The Banker”. Santander finished 2012 with a gross real-estate exposure of 23.7 billion euros.

Nota: Este artículo ha sido elaborado por Marta Crespo Fernández, alumna de la Universidad de Cantabria, como una de las actividades enmarcadas dentro del programa de capacitación lingüística, dando su permiso para la publicación del mismo en FxM Noticias/OIE24 News.

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