The president of Banco Santander, Ana Botín, has called on the Government to support the companies that have survived the pandemic. “Today the priority is to ensure that the companies that have survived the pandemic grow and create jobs. For this they will have to invest, and the banks will have to be able to meet their financial needs. Companies and governments have a responsibility to work together for the well-being of our society, “he declared at the Banco Santander shareholders’ meeting to be held online today.
The banker insisted in her intervention on the need to “protect viable companies and support innovative companies with transformative potential”, to add “our sector is the best positioned to understand what each company needs and what is the best way to help them to be reinforced “.
He recalled that one in five companies in Spain has received an ICO loan and a total of 116,000 million euros of financing have been granted, 10% of GDP, and that activity levels are recovering in a large part of the Spanish economy . But in key sectors such as hotels, restaurants and leisure, activity is still 40% below pre-crisis levels, “he insisted, explaining that to” support them, vaccination is key. Vaccines are defeating the virus and opening the door to recovery. “
Botín believes that uncertainty will continue in the short term, which is why it is “key that governments do not withdraw fiscal support too soon.” And it has demanded the joint collaboration of Europe to get out of the crisis.
“To ensure a rapid and sustainable recovery, countries must work together, leveraging the strength of their institutions to continue attracting investors. Europe is demonstrating leadership in managing this economic crisis with a more effective and coordinated response than ever before. It has been proven that Europe works when it does so in a united and supportive way. Avoiding a two-speed recovery will be key for Europe to emerge stronger, “he declared, after acknowledging that the European institutions” have adopted important measures to support economies. With programs of employment support and publicly guaranteed loans to companies, large and small, that have solved their liquidity problems “.
The banker wanted to wink at the shareholder and announced that the bank intends to resume “a policy of remuneration for shareholders of 40-50% of the group’s ordinary profit.” Therefore, during the year Santander intends to accrue in the capital ratio “the amount necessary to implement this policy if allowed by supervisors, under the expectation of reaching a RoTE (return on tangible capital) of approximately 10% at the end of 2021 “, he announced.
In addition, it has advanced that the evolution of the business so far this year has been positive, with income in line with the previous quarter, which allows the bank’s objective of ordinary RoTE in 2021 to be specified.
The president of Santander has ensured that the good results and the group’s “strong” capital position thus gives it flexibility to to be able to remunerate its shareholders “attractively”.
The board of directors agreed yesterday to pay a dividend on May 4 cash of 2.75 cents per share charged to 2020, the maximum allowed by the European Central Bank (ECB).
“So far this year the evolution of the business has been positive, with revenue in line with what we showed in the last quarter. In Europe, savings are being generated that allow us to improve the ratio efficiency at the Group level. In addition, the cost of credit continues to tend
down, as we announced in our annual results presentation “, The president of Santander has detailed.
As Botín has indicated, the bank will continue to focus on the execution of the new operating model in Europe, with the aim of achieving a Ordinary RoTE of 10% -12% and an efficiency ratio of around 45% in the medium term. In addition, it is committed to reducing the base of costs in Europe by an additional 1 billion until the end of 2022, after of saving 1 billion costs in the last two years.
Botín has recognized that the veto on dividends has affected the price of the shares of European banks, although it has put value that the Santander share rose 73% since the publication of the third quarter results and that, in valuation terms, the bank closed 2020 trading at market multiples in line with the of its global peers and the European banking sector.
“We are confident in the solidity of our business model, in our prospects for 2021 and to continue with the current positive trend “, has assured.
CORPORATE GOVERNANCE, THE KEY TO SUCCESS.
During her initial speech, the president of the bank highlighted that corporate governance is “key” in achieving growth profitable and sustainable over time.
Among its most recent advances, it has highlighted the implementation of ‘Canal Open ‘and consumer protection policy and guidelines on vulnerable customers across the group, as well as the development of a pilot project to incorporate ESG criteria into the hiring process
from our top 400 suppliers.
Botín has stressed that Santander’s corporate governance model has recently been rated very positively on its design and effectiveness by the external expert in charge of assessing the board in 2020, but he has acknowledged being aware that “there is no room for complacency.”
For this reason, he has ensured that the group will continue to improve its government to the extent possible to stay in line with the best international internships. “This is how we did it last year, strengthening and updating the succession plans “, Botín recalled, to add
that, although “much remains to be done”, the group is progressing “at a good pace”.