Argentine banks have had to deal with triple-digit inflation, capital controls, a lack of dollars and a state of continuous economic turmoil.
Even then, the local unit of Banco Santander managed to boost by 271% its contribution to the Spanish group’s results in the first half of the year, compared to the same period of 2022.
More impressively, perhaps: that increase in profits came after converting the bank’s earnings from the embattled peso to euros.
A seemingly unbearable business environment has not prevented Santander from increasing its loan portfolio by 82% and the volume of deposits by 114% in Argentina, once again when expressed in euros. And that even though the economy is contracting: the OECD expects Argentina’s GDP to close the year 1.1% smaller than it started.
Santander’s return on equity ratio closed the first half at a whopping 30.5%, while the efficiency ratio dropped 7.4 percentage points to 50.7%. The twelve months to June 2023 also saw Santander Argentina’s client base swell by 4.4% to 4.6 million, of which 3.3 are users digital banking.
In its earnings report, Santander stressed that its strategy in Argentina goes through the simplification of processes and efficiency improvement via digital transformation. In the twelve months to June 30, the number of digital customers grew by 3.9%, and 8% among mobile phone users. At the same time, physical branches were slashed by 11.1%.
Santander also claims to lead of the ranking of consumer satisfaction in Argentina’s banking market, according to internal statistics, and stressed that 55% of its Argentinian customers are loyal to the brand.