Banco Santander continued its recovery from the pandemic by reporting €2.2bn of profits for the third quarter, benefiting from its relative strength in the year to date in the US and UK markets, as well as digitalisation.
The third-quarter profits were 24 per cent ahead of the same period last year, while the €5.8bn profits for the first nine months of the year contrasted with the group’s €9bn loss for the same period in 2020.
The group’s US and UK operations played outsize roles during the first nine months of the year, in part reflecting the uneven recovery across the globe from the coronavirus crisis. Underlying profits in North America for the period more than doubled to €2.3bn when compared with the first nine months of 2020, while they increased fivefold in the UK to €1.15bn.
Ana Botín, Santander’s executive chair, hailed the group’s results in the two markets as “particularly strong, underscoring the effectiveness of our strategy in these important markets”.
The group’s performance in the US and the UK was less pronounced, however, during the third quarter, with underlying US profit falling back 28 per cent on the second quarter, while UK profit was up 12 per cent.
The group also emphasised its progress in digitalisation, with digital transactions up 39 per cent on the first nine months of 2020. Digital sales — now 54 per cent of the total — increased 10 percentage points.
Santander said net fee income was now above pre-Covid levels, given what it said was its wider offer of value-added products, while expenses in real terms decreased 1 per cent compared with the first nine months of 2020, with a 3 per cent fall in Europe. It added that its non-performing loan ratio fell four basis points quarter on quarter to 3.18 per cent.
The group says it now has 152m customers worldwide, more than any other bank in Europe and the Americas.