Banco Santander is thinking of ramping up its operations in Latin America, as the Spanish financial services giant is seeing its profit rising in the region.
The bank’s Brazilian unit reported a 4% increase in year-on-year profit for the last fiscal year, while earnings in Mexico jumped by a staggering 42%.
Until 2015, Latin America represented barely 35% of Banco Santander’s profits, but the figure increased to 41% in 2018. Now the bank is hoping to see the profit share increase to 50% in the coming years, according to European financial magazine Euromoney.
“About 70% of our balance sheet is in mature markets (Europe and the United States), and only about 20% is in Latin America, our profits are already almost 50/50,” reported Euromoney quoting the group’s CEO José Antonio Alvarez as saying.
Brazil alone contributed 26% of the group’s profits last year. Lack of financial inclusion and the rising number of internet users are also the factors persuading the bank’s executives to focus on the region, say analysts.
As part of leveraging its digital assets, the bank is establishing an IT center in each of its branches in the region.
In Mexico, where it added 800,000 new clients last year, the bank’s customers can make payments through social media sites as well.
Santander has operations in Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Colombia, and Chile, as well, but Brazil has remained the most lucrative. These days, the lender is trying to capitalize on the demand for loans in Brazil’s agribusiness sector.