Latin America's best bank for SMEs 2020: Santander

Awards for Excellence 2020

Santander is Latin America’s best bank for small and medium-sized enterprises. Many banks have SME offerings but few, if any, use the segment so effectively as one of the fundamental drivers of its growth.

The bank has targeted products at these businesses to build retail presence in its Latin American markets. In Brazil, for example, the effort to offer owners of SMEs combined company and retail accounts is branded Duo.

Santander’s long-standing focus on these companies has also paid off in the corporate sector when successful companies outgrow the biggest SME classification.

Sergio Rial, as head of the south America region for Santander, leads the SME business for the bank in Latin America. He points out that the bank is increasingly managing its SME business at a global level despite the relatively small size of some of that business. The bank’s acquisition of Ebury, a leading trade and foreign-exchange facilitator for SMEs, was evidence of that.


Sergio Rial

Santander paid £350 million for the UK-based company. The additional digital capability that it brings to its SME suite of products and services is being leveraged into Latin America – Ebury manages transactions in 140 currencies.

However, despite this global integration, Santander also focuses on market-specific innovation to maximize its SME business. For example, in one of Santander’s key markets, Chile, the bank grew its top-ranked SME segment (defined locally as companies with sales under Ps2 billion or $2.7 million) by 5.7% to 207,202 clients through the creation of a new products division.

One of those offerings, its payment system Getnet, is being aggressively rolled out across the region after finding out in Brazil that undercutting other banks’ costs of card payments is an effective way of winning broader SME revenues.

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