“We must protect viable companies, support innovative companies with transformative potential, and rest assured that the banks will continue to be there. Our sector is the best positioned to understand what each company needs and what is the best way to help them emerge stronger. In 2020 we have shown that we are capable of protecting and supporting our SMEs, channeling funds in a time of crisis. We hope to continue contributing to the recovery with a growth of our loan portfolio of 40,000 million euros in all our geographies ”. Thus explained Ana Botín, president of Banco Santander, during its speech at the general shareholders meeting, the group’s plans to continue injecting liquidity into the business fabric in these times of crisis.
It already did so last year, when at the worst moment of the pandemic it conceded € 1 billion in new credits every day. In total, the bank supported six million clients, through different emergency measures, such as moratoriums on loans (amounting to 112,000 million euros), reduction or temporary suspension of some commissions or different services provided by specialized teams to clients. clients who were experiencing financial difficulties.
“Spain was the fastest when it came to providing liquidity to companies through ICO loans thanks to the excellent public-private collaboration and the ability of banks to reach out, their knowledge and their close relationship with companies. 1 out of every 5 companies in Spain has received an ICO loan and a total of 116 billion euros of financing have been granted, 10% of GDP ”, pointed out Botín. In fact, Banco Santander was the bank that managed the most ICO loans last year, with a 27% share.
Santander Spain works on an automated model to extend the repayment periods and the lack of ICO loans granted last year, according to the royal decree approved by the Government in November (the pazos are extended to eight years and the grace period up to a maximum of 24 months). In this way, it will allow the entire process to be carried out online – simply by sending the request through digital channels – while offering each client the best personalized solution based on their profile, with specific proposals for different sectors.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the entity made clear its intention to be “part of the solution to this unprecedented health and economic emergency.” Providing liquidity and transmitting confidence to clients is being key to face the new situation. And SMEs, the engine of the economy, are a priority. To reopen the doors of businesses is to facilitate many families the employment that will allow them to get out of the pothole. “Many entrepreneurs have gone through some very difficult months and they continue to need our support now that they are beginning to recover,” Botín commented on his social networks. “The challenge now is to help SMEs survive to regain jobs and minimize the impact of bad debts, for a more sustainable recovery.” An example of this commitment is the case of Romeral laundry, based on the island of Gran Canaria and a client of Santander, which depends largely on the hotel sector. The president of the group visited this company by surprise in February to see first-hand its needs and how, thanks to the support of the bank, it has been able to emerge afloat.
The bank recently posted on its blog seven tips to boost the expansion and growth of SMEs. Through them, he explains how to make a roadmap to define the strategy that a company must follow to achieve its objectives and be able to make the leap to new markets successfully, according to the business needs, the feasibility analysis and the framework in the that it is going to carry out its development.
The expansion of Spanish SMEs is another of Santander’s concerns. The bank allocated last year 20,000 million euros to support international business of small and medium-sized companies through export advances, financing, guarantees or documentary credits. It has also promoted innovative digital services that facilitate the agility of processes: international collections, payment monitoring, digital guarantees or the contracting of foreign currency. It also has Santander Trade, which allows the connection with more than 16,000 companies from different countries in order to interact commercially with each other; or International Desk, a tool that facilitates entry into another country (since its creation in 2011 it has supported the leap abroad of 5,000 companies).