Banco Santander is to spend EUR20 billion on digital technology over the next four years as part of an efficiency effort aimed at slashing EUR1.2 billion in annual costs.
Santander is transitioning its IT infrastructure towards a multi-cloud environment with global platforms supported by agile methodologies. The Spanish bank says it is also implementing machine learning and robotics at scale, re-engineering processes and negotiating provider contracts on a global basis to improve pricing.
Speaking at the bank's annual investor day, Ana Botin, executive chairman says: “Technology is changing banking as we know it and we are positioning the company to capitalise on the world class assets we have across the Group, including our technology, talent and scale. This will allow us to benefit from the opportunities presented by digital innovation and will result in us becoming a digital leader in global financial services for the next decade.
The cornerstone of Santander’s open financial services platform will be payments, she says.
As part of this, Santander plans to extend One Pay FX, its real-time mobile money transfer system developed in concert with Ripple, to non-customers through a standalone open market app called Pago FX which will be launched in the UK, Germany and Poland for individuals and SMEs in the near future.
Getnet, the Bank's Brazilian merchant services platform will also be expanded globally, initially starting in Mexico before expanding across Latin America and Europe.
Investment will also be directed towards the creation of a Global Trade Services platform with the goal of becoming the partner of choice for SMEs that trade internationally. Previously accessible for corporates only, this platform will offer trade finance, supply chain, payments, and foreign exchange, to small and medium businesses.
In addition, the bank confirmed today that it plans to expand Openbank, Santander’s full-service digital bank running on AWS cloud, to 10 new international markets in the medium term, reaching two million customers. Openbank has already racked up more than one million customers in Spain following a complete digital refresh over the past two years.
Much of the cost savings will come Sanatnder's more mature businesses in Europe, which will operate with a more streamlined management structure intended to boost operational performance.
Around EUR730 million of the total cost savings would come from efficiency gains in IT and operations and EUR220 million from shared services across regions, including the UK.