4,771 $m
Over the past two decades, Santander has emerged as one of Europe’s largest banks and was named the 2012 best retail bank in the world by Euromoney. Santander has demonstrated a commitment to increasing its level of customer satisfaction by developing a special program for managing customer concerns. The program ensures quick resolution of complaints by channeling them to specialized units that keep the customer informed of progress where identifying the main causes of common customer complaints so steps can be taken to correct them. Although it is feeling the pain of both a slow-to-recover US economy and the European debt crisis, the bank’s investments in South America have shielded Santander from feeling the effects as much as its peers. Santander, however, is not totally immune — with significant losses over the first two quarters of 2012, Santander is one of 16 Spanish banks that had their credit worthiness downgraded by Moody’s Investors Service. The brand’s reputation was also affected by some high-profile, but subsequently unfounded, legal investigations involving two of its senior executives. This all comes as Santander is introducing US consumers to its global brand following its acquisition of Sovereign Bank. Santander plans to drop the Sovereign name early next year and has been careful to demonstrate its commitment to the US by continuing to invest in new technology and advertising for its US operations. Santander has been a solid, growing brand for decades, and has emerged as one of the world’s biggest banks. But the European debt crisis and the brand’s close association with Spain will make it difficult for Santander to continue its winning streak.