Washington, D.C. 20549
(Mark One)
For the fiscal year ending December 31, 2019
For the transition period from to
Date of event requiring this shell company report
Commission file number 001-12518
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
Kingdom of Spain
(Jurisdiction of incorporation)
Ciudad Grupo Santander
28660 Boadilla del Monte (Madrid), Spain
(address of principal executive offices)
José G. Cantera
Banco Santander, S.A.
Ciudad Grupo Santander - 28660 Boadilla del Monte Madrid, Spain
Tel: +34 91 289 32 80 Fax: +34 91 257 12 82
(Name, Telephone, E-mail and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)
Securities registered or to be registered, pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act
Title of each class
Name of each exchange on which registered
American Depositary Shares, each representing the right to receive one Share of Capital Stock of Banco Santander, S.A., par value euro 0.50 each
New York Stock Exchange
Shares of Capital Stock of Banco Santander, S.A., par value euro 0.50 each
Not applicable
New York Stock Exchange *
Non-cumulative Preferred Stock Series 6
New York Stock Exchange
Senior Non Preferred Floating Rate Notes due 2023
New York Stock Exchange
3.500% Second Ranking Senior Debt Securities due 2022
SAN 22
New York Stock Exchange
4.250% Second Ranking Senior Debt Securities due 2027
New York Stock Exchange
Second Ranking Senior Floating Rate Notes due 2022
New York Stock Exchange
3.125% Senior Non Preferred Fixed Rate Notes due 2023
New York Stock Exchange
3.800% Senior Non Preferred Fixed Rate Notes due 2028
New York Stock Exchange
Series 76 2.706% Senior Preferred Fixed Rate Notes due 2024
New York Stock Exchange
Series 77 3.306% Senior Non Preferred Fixed Rate Notes due 2023
New York Stock Exchange
Series 37 3.848% Senior Non Preferred Fixed Rate Notes due 2023
New York Stock Exchange
Series 38 4.379% Senior Non Preferred Fixed Rate Notes due 2028
New York Stock Exchange
Series 36 Senior Non Preferred Floating Rate Notes due 2023
New York Stock Exchange
Series 26 Subordinated Debt Securities
New York Stock Exchange
*Banco Santander Shares are not listed for trading, but are only listed in connection with the registration of the American Depositary Shares, pursuant to requirements of the New York Stock Exchange.
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None (Title of Class)
Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act: None (Title of Class)
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.     Yes  No
If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.     Yes No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).     Yes No Indicate by check mark whether the

registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, or a non-accelerated filer. See definition of “accelerated filer and large accelerated filer” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Large accelerated filer   
Accelerated filer
Non-accelerated filer  
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.
† The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.
Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:
International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board
If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow. Item 17 Item 18
If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).     Yes No

Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital stock or common stock as of the close of business covered by the annual report 16,618,114,582 shares

Cross-reference to Form 20-F
Part 1. Consolidated directors' report
Part 2. Consolidated financial statements
Part 3. Supplemental information

This annual report on Form 20-F for the year ended 31 December 2019, includes three parts: (i) our Consolidated Directors’ Report, (ii) our consolidated financial statements and (iii) supplemental information. Set forth below is a table listing the required items for Form 20-F and the location where the relevant disclosure in this annual report can be found.
Form 20-F Item Number and Caption
Presentation of Financial and Other Information
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
A. Directors and Senior Management
Not required for Annual Report on Form 20-F
B. Advisers
Not required for Annual Report on Form 20-F
C. Auditors
Not required for Annual Report on Form 20-F
A. Offer Statistics
Not required for Annual Report on Form 20-F
B. Method and Expected Timetable
Not required for Annual Report on Form 20-F
A. Selected financial data
B. Capitalization and indebtedness
Not required for Annual Report on Form 20-F
C. Reasons for the offer and use of proceeds
Not required for Annual Report on Form 20-F
D. Risk factors
A. History and development of the company
Acquisitions, Dispositions, Reorganizations
Capital Increases
Recent Events
B. Business overview
Selected Statistical information
Competition in Spain
Supervision and Regulation
C. Organizational structure

Cross-reference to Form 20-F
Part 1. Consolidated directors' report
Part 2. Consolidated financial statements
Part 3. Supplemental information

Form 20-F Item Number and Caption
D. Property, plant and equipment
Critical accounting policies
A. Operating results
B. Liquidity and capital resources
C. Research and development, patents and licenses, etc.
D. Trend information
E. Off-balance sheet arrangements
F. Tabular disclosure of contractual obligations
A. Directors and senior management
B. Compensation
C. Board practices
D. Employees
E. Share ownership
A. Major shareholders
B. Related party transactions
C. Interests of experts and counsel
Not required for Annual Report on Form 20-F
A. Consolidated statements and other financial information
Financial statements
Legal proceedings

Cross-reference to Form 20-F
Part 1. Consolidated directors' report
Part 2. Consolidated financial statements
Part 3. Supplemental information

Form 20-F Item Number and Caption
Shareholders remuneration
B. Significant Changes
Not applicable
A. Offer and listing details
B. Plan of distribution
Not required for Annual Report on Form 20-F
C. Markets
D. Selling shareholders
Not required for Annual Report on Form 20-F
E. Dilution
Not required for Annual Report on Form 20-F
F. Expense of the issue
Not required for Annual Report on Form 20-F
ITEM 10.
A. Share capital
Not required for Annual Report on Form 20-F
B. Memorandum and articles of association
C. Material contracts
D. Exchange controls
E. Taxation
F. Dividends and paying agents
Not required for Annual Report on Form 20-F
G. Statement by experts
Not required for Annual Report on Form 20-F
H. Documents on display
I. Subsidiary information
Not required for Annual Report on Form 20-F
ITEM 11.
ITEM 12.
A. Debt Securities
Not required for Annual Report on Form 20-F
B. Warrants and Rights
Not required for Annual Report on Form 20-F
C. Other Securities
Not required for Annual Report on Form 20-F
D. American Depositary Shares
ITEM 13.
Not applicable
ITEM 14.
Not applicable

Cross-reference to Form 20-F
Part 1. Consolidated directors' report
Part 2. Consolidated financial statements
Part 3. Supplemental information

Form 20-F Item Number and Caption
ITEM 15.
A. Audit Committee Financial Expert
B. Code of Ethics
C. Principal Accountant Fees and Services
D. Exemptions from the Listing Standards for Audit Committees
Not applicable
E. Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers
F. Changes in Registrant’s Certifying Accountant
Not applicable
G. Corporate Governance
H. Mine Safety Disclosure
Not applicable
ITEM 17.
ITEM 18.


Part 1.Consolidated directors’ report

Consolidated directors' report
Business model and strategy
Responsible banking
Our approach
Challenge 1: new business environment
Challenge 2: inclusive and sustainable growth
Key metrics
Contribution to UN Sustainable Development Goals
Further information
Non-financial information Law content index
UNEP FI Principles for Responsible Banking reporting index
Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) content index
Corporate Governance
Overview of corporate governance in 2019
Ownership structure
Shareholders, engagement and shareholder meeting
Board of directors
Management team
Group structure and internal governance
Internal control over financial reporting (ICFR)
Other corporate governance information
Economic and financial review
Economic, regulatory and competitive context
Group selected data
Group financial performance
Financial information by segments
Research, development and innovation (R&D&I)
Significant events since year end
Trend information 2020
Alternative performance measures (APM)
Risk management and control
Risk management and control overview
Risk management and control model
Credit risk profile
Trading market risk, structural and liquidity risk profile
Capital risk profile
Operational risk profile
Compliance and conduct risk profile
Model risk profile
Strategic risk profile


2019 consolidated directors’ report
This report has been approved unanimously by our board of directors on 27 February 2020.
Our approach to this document
The presentation of our consolidated directors’ report was improved last year to provide in a single, streamlined document the contents of several documents that were previously published separately and are no longer prepared but as sections of this consolidated directors’ report. In particular, before 2018, the contents now included in this report were spread in the following documents:
Annual report
Consolidated directors’ report
Annual corporate governance report (CNMV format document)
Report of the board committees
Sustainability report
Annual report on our directors’ remuneration (CNMV format document)
Additionally, the consolidated directors’ report includes all the information requirements to comply with Spanish Law 11/2018 on non-financial information and diversity. This information can be found in the 'Responsible banking' chapter, which represents the Consolidated non-financial information statement.
This format allows a clearer presentation of the information and, therefore, of understanding, avoids repetition and, at the same time, enhances the level of disclosure rather than reducing it.

Non-IFRS and alternative performance measures
In addition to financial information prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and derived from our consolidated financial statements, this consolidated directors’ report contains financial measures that constitute alternative performance measures (APMs) as defined in the Guidelines on Alternative Performance Measures issued by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) on 5 October 2015 and other non-IFRS measures.
The financial measures contained in this consolidated directors’ report that qualify as APMs and non-IFRS measures have been calculated using the financial information from Santander Group but are not defined or detailed in the applicable financial reporting framework and have neither been audited nor reviewed by our auditors.
We use these APMs and non-IFRS measures when planning, monitoring and evaluating our performance. We consider these APMs and non-IFRS measures to be useful metrics for management and investors to facilitate operating performance comparisons from period to period. While we believe that these APMs and non-IFRS measures are useful in evaluating our business, this information should be considered as supplemental in nature and is not meant as a substitute of IFRS measures. In addition, other companies, including companies in our industry, may calculate or use such measures differently, which reduces their usefulness as comparative measures.
Section 8 of the 'Economic and financial review' chapter provides further information about those APMs and non-IFRS measures.
Forward-looking statements
Santander cautions that this annual report contains statements that constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the US Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward- looking statements may be identified by words such as ‘expect’, ‘project’, ‘anticipate’, ‘should’, ‘intend’, ‘probability’, ‘risk’, ‘target’, ‘goal’, ‘objective’, ‘estimate’, ‘future’ and similar expressions. These forward-
looking statements are found in various places throughout this annual report and include, without limitation, statements concerning our future business development and economic performance and our shareholder remuneration policy. While these forward-looking statements represent our judgement and future expectations concerning the development of our business, a number of risks, uncertainties and other important

2019 Form 20-F 


factors could cause actual developments and results to differ materially from our expectations.
The following important factors, in addition to those discussed elsewhere in this consolidated financial statements, could affect our future results and could cause outcomes to differ materially from those anticipated in any forward-looking statement: (1) general economic or industry conditions in areas in which we have significant business activities or investments, including a worsening of the economic environment, increasing in the volatility of the capital markets, inflation or deflation, and changes in demographics, consumer spending, investment or saving habits; (2) exposure to various types of market risks, principally including interest rate risk, foreign exchange rate risk, equity price risk and risks associated with the replacement of benchmark indices; (3) potential losses associated with prepayment of our loan and investment portfolio, declines in the value of collateral securing our loan portfolio, and counterparty risk; (4) political stability in Spain, the UK, other European countries, Latin America and the US; (5) changes in laws, regulations or taxes, including changes in regulatory capital and liquidity requirements, including as a result of the UK exiting the European Union and increased
regulation in light of the global financial crisis; (6) our ability to integrate successfully our acquisitions and the challenges inherent in diverting management’s focus and resources from other strategic opportunities and from operational matters while we integrate these acquisitions; and (7) changes in our ability to access liquidity and funding on acceptable terms, including as a result of changes in our credit spreads or a downgrade in our credit ratings or those of our more significant subsidiaries.
Numerous factors could affect the future results of Santander and could result in those results deviating materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements. Other unknown or unpredictable factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements.
Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this annual report and are based on the knowledge, information available and views taken on such date; such knowledge, information and views may change at any time. Santander does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Historical performance is not indicative of future results
Statements as to historical performance or financial accretion are not intended to mean that future performance, share price or future earnings (including earnings per share)
for any period will necessarily match or exceed those of any prior period. Nothing in this annual report should be construed as a profit forecast.
No offer
Neither this annual report nor any of the information contained therein constitutes an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities.


Business model
and strategy

The Santander Way
Our purpose
Our aim as a bank
Our how
To help people and businesses prosper

To be the best open financial services platform, by acting responsibly and earning the lasting loyalty of our people, customers, shareholders and communities
Everything we do should be

Simple | Personal | Fair


For further information about our corporate culture see Responsible Banking chapter.

2019 Form 20-F 

Our strategy is built around a virtuous circle based on loyalty
Employees who are engaged ...
Our aim is to be an employer of choice. Focus on employee engagement, leveraging our SPF culture to retain and attract the best talent.
This year we received important recognitions, of note: one of the 25 best companies to work for at global level (Great Place to Work). Leader in diversity 2020 by the Financial Times, and in addition, for the third consecutive year, we lead the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index.
... generate more loyal customers ...
Increase in loyal customers, both individuals and businesses, has resulted in a significant growth in revenues, loans and customer funds.
Loyal customers use our digital channels more as they hold more of our products and services and interact with us more often.
... leading to strong financial results ...
+8% value creation for shareholder

TNAV per share + dividends per share declared in 2019
Our focus on customer loyalty is delivering results: all-time record figure in customer revenueA with 3% growth (+4% in constant euros) and accounting for 95% of total revenue.
We continued to strengthen our balance sheet, generating more capital and improving credit quality.
We continue growing our cash dividend, as we have been doing for the last five years.
A. Customer revenue= net interest income + net fee income
... and more investment in communities, helping to motivate and engage our people ...
2.0 mn
people financially empowered
in 2019
Most sustainable bank in the world
by Dow Jones Sustainability index 2019
We remain committed to generating profit in a more responsible and sustainable way.
Initiatives and actions to support inclusive and sustainable causes, and good causes in the communities in which we operate.
1.6 mn
people helped through our community programmes
in 2019


Our business model
1. Our scale
Local scale and
global reach
Local scale based on three geographic regions, where we maintain a leadership position in our 10 core markets.
Global reach backed by our global businesses, enabling greater collaboration across the Group to generate higher revenue and efficiencies.
A. Market share in lending as of Sep-19 including only private owned banks. UK benchmark covers mortgage market.
2. Customer focus
         Unique personal
        banking relationships
        strengthen customer

We serve 145 million customers, in markets with a total population of more than one billion people.
We have over 100,000 people talking to our customers every day in our c.12,000 branches and contact centres.
B. NPS – Customer Satisfaction internal benchmark of active customers’ experience and satisfaction audited by Stiga / Deloitte.
3. Diversification
          Our geographic and business diversification make us more resilient under adverse circumstances

Geographic diversification in three regions, with a good balance between mature and developing markets, and among customer segments (individuals, SMEs and large corporates).
Global businesses contributing 26% of Group earnings that strengthen our local franchises.
Santander Global Platform (SGP) supports the digital transformation across the Group and aims to become the best open financial services platform.
Note. Underlying attributable profit contribution by region, excluding Santander Global Platform and Corporate Centre.
Resilient profit generation throughout the cycle
In 2019, once again, our business model demonstrated strength and resilience, supported by a disciplined execution against our strategic priorities
Net operating income = Total income-operating expenses.

2019 Form 20-F 


Our business model and our track record executing our strategy support the delivery of our mid-term goals while we are building a Responsible Bank
ICONOMUNDOA01.JPG Execution of our three-pillar plan to drive profitable growth in a responsible way
Improving operating performance
Optimising capital allocation
Accelerating the digital transformation through Santander Global Platform

1. Improving operating performance leveraging One Santander:

Three geographic regions (with 10 core markets) to improve productivity and generate new efficiencies:
weight of profit/
operating areas
Building one European banking platform, with enhanced profitability
weight of loans/
operating areas

weight of profit/
operating areas

Investing together
to improve commercial capabilities
weight of loans/
operating areas

weight of profit/
operating areas

Natural reweighting
and high profitable
growth opportunity
weight of loans/
operating areas

Data: Market shares as of Sep-19 and the latest available for the SBNA and SCF as of Jun-19.
A. Includes London Branch.
B. Includes SCF business in Poland.
C. In every state where Santander Bank operates.
D. Includes debentures, LCA (agribusiness credit notes), LCI (real estate credit notes), LF (letras financeiras) and COE (structured transactions certificate).


Global businesses to leverage our local scale with global reach and collaboration:
collaboration revenues
We continue to be strategic partners for our customers, leveraging our capital-light model and geographic diversification
weight of profit/
operating areas

Santander Private Banking

Santander Asset Management

Santander Insurance
collaboration revenues
(only Private Banking)
We aim to become the best and most responsible Wealth Manager in Europe and the Americas, underpinned by the Global Private Banking platform, digital investments, and a greater value proposition in SAM and insurance
weight of profit/
operating areas
A. . Profit after tax + net fee income generated by this business.

2. Ongoing capital allocation optimisation to improve profitability:
For further details on RoRWA and underlying RoRWA, see section 8 'Alternative Performance Measures' in the 'Economic and financial review'.

2019 Form 20-F 


3. Accelerating the digital transformation through SGP:

Our technology strategy is aligned with our two-pronged approach of digitalising our core banks and global businesses and building Santander Global Platform, focusing on better serving our customers needs.
Innovation and technological development are strategic pillars of the Group. Our objective is to respond to the new challenges that emanate from digital transformation, focusing on operational excellence and customer experience.

Accelerating digitalisation and building Santander Global Platform. Moving towards One Santander to build simpler, faster and better services.


Cross-reference to Form 20-F
Part 1. Consolidated directors' report
Part 2. Consolidated financial statements
Part 3. Supplemental information



Consolidated non-financial information statement




Our approach
Challenge 1: New business environment
Our strong corporate culture
Challenge 2: Inclusive and sustainable growth
Financial inclusion and empowerment
UNEP FI Principles for Responsible Banking Index

2019 Form 20-F 

Our approach
"By delivering on our purpose, and helping people and businesses prosper, we grow as a business and we can help society address its challenges too. Economic progress and social progress go together. The value created by our business is shared - to the benefit of all. Communities are best served by corporations that have aligned their goals to serve the long term goals of society."
Ana Botín

By being responsible, we build loyalty


2019 Form 20-F 


How we have helped people and businesses prosper in 2019
EUR 12.141 million
Personnel costsA
of employees with fixed contracts
of employees are women
EUR 942,218 million
Loans outstanding (net)
EUR 519,996 million to households
EUR 319,616 million to companies
EUR 20,053 million
to public administrations

EUR 82,553 million
to othersB
EUR 500 million
to microbusinesses through our microfinance programs
EUR 3,822 million

EUR 61,986 million

EUR 0.23

Total shareholder
Stock market value at year-end 2019, second bank in the eurozone

per share of total shareholders remunerationC

EUR 165 million
EUR 119 million
EUR 46 million
Community investment
Investment in universities
Investment in programmes and projects to support communities
EUR 4,746 million
Payments to suppliersD
suppliers awarded in 2019 through our global procurement model
Local Group suppliers
Tax contribution
EUR 6,765 million
EUR 2,951million
EUR 3,814 million
Total taxes paid by the Group
Corporate income tax
Other taxes paid
From Group consolidated financial statements.
Including financial business activities and customer prepayments.
Subject to the approval of the total dividend against the 2019 results by 2020 annual general meeting.    
Data refers exclusively to purchases negotiated by Aquánima.


What our stakeholders tell us
To build a more responsible bank, we are constantly engaging with and analysing the views of all our stakeholders, so that we can improve our performance and do more to help people and businesses prosper.

How we engage
Earning and keeping people's loyalty is key to creating lasting value. To do this, we must understand the concerns of all our stakeholders. By listening to their opinions, and measuring their perception of the Group, we not only identify issues, we also spot opportunities.
We encourage active listening and have several channels that enable us to understand stakeholders' expectations. This ongoing dialogue is key to ensuring the success of the Group’s activities through the value chain.
As well as this, and to help us define and manage our responsible banking agenda, we also analyse what the leading environmental, social and governance analysts are telling us.
We are also continuously monitoring political and regulatory agendas in all markets where we operate.
We participate in consultations held by third parties about the impact the Group has on the sustainable development agenda.
Furthermore, to understand our overall impact on society, we are always assessing social and environmental externalities (both negative and positive). This helps Santander to detect possible risks for business; and identify opportunities to create additional value for the society and ways in which we can protect the environment.
Finally, we are part of major local and global initiatives to support inclusive and sustainable growth, and help good causes in the markets where we operate. Details of these partnerships can be found on page 22 of this chapter.


2019 Form 20-F 


Identifying the issues that matter
Santander regularly analyses the most relevant social, environmental and ethical behaviour issues through its materiality assessment. This systematic study is conducted across the whole Group’s value chain on an annual basis, and consists of an in-depth quantitative and qualitative analysis that uses information from both internal and external sources. Each of these inputs is weighted according to its relevance as regards defining material matters for the Bank. Weights are not distributed statically but are reviewed every year to adapt the study as much as possible to the current context and reality.
Based on this materiality assessment, a materiality matrix has been generated, where 15 material issues for the Bank have been identified as the most relevant issues. In 2019 we addressed the issues raised in a wide range of ways, as the following pages highlight. In particular, we focused on measures to embed responsible business practices; to tackle climate change and support the green transition; and to build a diverse and talented team.

Main inputs considered for the analysis
Shareholders (ESG investors; Rep risk)
Banking sector (Peers reporting and materiality analysis)
People (Customers surveys; Impact by business segment; Press Analysis; social networks)
Regulators (Regulatory & voluntary frameworks such us GRI, SASB or IIRC)
Santander Strategic view (Public Commitments, Internal communication messages, workshops, Top risk analysis)
Employees´perspective (employees' surveys; interviews with local & global areas)
Executive perspective (Responsible Banking committees; Chairman and CEO messages)

Relevant aspects for the Group matrixA

This analysis helps us to focus our initiatives and programmes right across the Group.
Key issues in which we have put focus in 2019 (and what our stakeholder expect from us)
Customer satisfaction measures

Mechanisms to control and manage the entity's ethical behaviour and risks (fraud, corruption, terrorism, money laundering prevention tax evasion, etc.)

Initiatives to promote the incorporation of women, persons with disabilities, ethnic or other minorities

Financial Inclusion
Initiatives to make financial services accessible for all,including those individuals and businesses with low incomes or no access to the formal financial system.
Financial activity with climate and environmental impact
Strategy tackle to climate change and the transition to a low-carbon economy. Environmental impact derived from the Bank's financing of certain activities.

A. Aspects such as food waste, light and noise pollution, human rights and biodiversity are not material to the Group


Challenges and opportunities
Like every business, Santander operates in a world that is changing fast, creating new challenges and opportunities. Using the results of the materiality assessment, we have identified two core challenges - the challenge of the new business environment, and the challenge of inclusive and sustainable growth.

Challenge 1:

New business environment
Adapting to an evolving world
The world's economy continues to change fast. Advances in information technology and communications are transforming markets and business models. In this highly competitive environment, and in a time of rapid change, companies must work in new ways and have responsible business practices.

Santander, like all businesses, needs a motivated, diverse, skilled workforce that is able to deliver what customers want, harnessing the power of new technology. Meanwhile, we face new regulations and laws. These trends create the challenge of the new business environment in which we operate. Our task is to exceed our stakeholders' expectations, to do the basics brilliantly, every day. Key to this is having a strong culture - a business in which all we do is Simple, Personal and Fair.

For more detailed information on our strategy to tackle this challenge and turn it into an opportunity, please see section “Challenge 1: New business environment” of this chapter.

2019 Form 20-F 


Challenge 2:
Inclusive & sustainable growth
Helping society achieve its goals
Growth should meet the needs of today’s generation, without hampering future generations’ ability to meet their own needs: a balance should always be struck between economic growth, social welfare and environmental protection. Financial institutions can deliver this by managing their own operations responsibly, and lending responsibly to help society achieve its goals.

We can play a major role in helping ensure growth is both inclusive and sustainable. Inclusive: by meeting all our customers’ needs, helping entrepreneurs start companies and create jobs, strengthening local economies, improving financial empowerment, and supporting people get the education and training they need. Sustainable: by financing renewable energy, supporting smart infrastructure and technology to tackle climate change. We do this while taking into account the social and environmental risks and opportunities in our operations, and actively contributing to a more balanced and inclusive economic and social system.
For more detailed information on our strategy to tackle this challenge and turn it into an opportunity, please see section Challenge 2: Inclusive & sustainable growth of this chapter.


Principles and governance
All our activity is guided by principles, frameworks and policies to ensure we behave responsibly in everything we do. We have reformed and strengthened our responsible banking governance to help us manage initiatives which tackle the two challenges we have identified.

Policies that support our responsible banking strategy
General Code of Conduct
Corporate Culture Policy A
General Sustainability Policy
Human Rights Policy
Sector Policies
Sensitive Sectors Policy
Brings together the ethical principles and rules of conduct governing the actions of all of the Group's staff and is the central element of the Group's compliance function
Establishes the guidelines and required standards to be followed ensuring a consistent culture is embedded throughout the Group.
Defines our general sustainability principles and our voluntary commitments with the aim of generating long-term value for our stakeholders.

Sets out how we protect human rights in all operations, and reflects the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
Lays down the criteria governing the Group´s financial activity with the defence, energy, mining & metals and soft commodities (products such as palm oil, soy and timber) sectors.
Sets down guidelines for assessment and decision making about the Group's participation in certain sectors, whose potential impact could lead to reputational risks.
Consumer Protection Policy B
Code of Conduct in Security Markets
Cybersecurity Policy
Third-party Certification Policy C
Tax Policy
Conflicts of Interest Policy
Financing of Political Parties Policy
Policy on Contributions for Social Purpose
Global Mobility Policy
A. Includes the Group's Diversity & Inclusion Principles and the Corporate Volunteering Standard.
B. Includes financial consumer acting principles.
C. Includes principles of responsible behaviour for suppliers.

Changes to policies in 2019
To make our policies easier to navigate, we have incorporated our climate change policy into our General Sustainability Policy. More detail on the governance of the policy has been included. The protected areas criteria has been aligned with the new Environmental and Social Sector Policy approach.
The Corporate Culture Policy has incorporated the Volunteering Policy. We have also updated our Diversity & Inclusion principles to reflect our commitment to people with disabilities and different sexual orientations; and to highlight the importance of having appropriate, accessible products for all. Our Leadership Commitments have been included under our Santander Way minimum standards.
The Human Rights Policy has been amended to update the main declarations and codes on which it is based. It also gives further specifics on relevant issues regarding our relationships with customers, suppliers and communities; and more detail on the policy governance.
The Global Mobility Policy has been reviewed to give our employees new opportunities to work in different geographies. We have also reviewed compensation and benefits given to employees when they work abroad, as well as the governance model.

Available on our website those policies that the bank has made public.

2019 Form 20-F 

Strategic overview and coordination
The responsible banking, sustainability & culture committee assists the board of directors in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities with respect to the Group's responsible banking strategy overall. It focuses on corporate culture, ethics and conduct; the impact of digital transformation on our working practice; the Group's policies on sensitive issues and sectors; and how the Group delivers inclusive and sustainable growth.

The committee is supported by the culture steering group and the inclusive & sustainable banking steering group.

The culture steering, promotes, supports and tracks the implementation of The Santander Way (our corporate culture) across the geographies, ensuring corporate and local actions are consistent.

The inclusive & sustainable banking steering reviews and tracks initiatives to tackle social and financial inclusion; extend and improve access to education and training; support by financing in the transition to a low carbon economy; and support investment which benefits society as a whole.

Responsible Banking network
The corporate Responsible Banking unit coordinates and drives the responsible banking agenda. Supporting this unit, Santander has a Senior Advisor on Responsible Business Practices, who reports directly to the executive chairman.
Santander subsidiaries' sustainability and culture units coordinate and drive their local responsible banking agendas, ensuring they are aligned to Santander´s corporate strategy and policies. Each subsidiary has appointed a senior executive responsible for the Responsible Banking function. Its function is to drive responsible banking agenda at local level aligned with the Group.
Coordination and strategy
Metrics and targets have been established to drive Santander´s Responsible Banking agenda and embed Responsible Banking into the heart of the Group's business strategy.
Guiding principles have been developed for subsidiaries (and global business units) to ensure the governance and implementation of our responsible banking agenda is embedded across the Group as a whole.
There is regular coordination between business units, including joint meetings held every two months. Additionally, the first Responsible Banking workshop, attended by Responsible Banking representatives from across the Bank's businesses and geographies, was held in 2019.
Key initiatives agreed by the RBSCC in 2019:
Responsible Banking strategy
Approval of our Responsible Banking priorities for the next cycle, 2020-2022.
Launch of Responsible Banking commitments for 2021 and 2025.

Challenge 1. The new business environment
Leadership Commitments have been included under The Santander Way.
Global simplification initiative has been launched, nominating the responsible people and setting main indicators: Global Engagement Survey (GES), Net Promoter Score (NPS), Simple, Personal and Fair perception (SPF).
New global maternity and paternity minimum standards created.
New initiatives launched to increase recruitment of people with disabilities.
Signed up to the UN Women´s Empowerment Principles
Update of Corporate Culture Policy.
Update of Human Rights Policy.

Challenge 2. Inclusive and sustainable growth
A new climate change strategy created.
A new Global Sustainable Framework for the issuance of Green, Social and Sustainable Bonds created.
Updated environmental & social policies.
A financial empowerment and inclusion action plan created.
A new approach taken to responsible banking at Santander Wealth Management and Santander Corporate Investment Banking.
New Santander Group Energy Efficiency and Sustainability plan to reduce our internal environmental footprint.
New commitment made to become carbon neutral in 2020.
For more information, see section 4.9. ´Responsible banking, sustainability and culture committee´of Corporate governance chapter.


Main international initiatives we support
At Group-level, we work with a number of initiatives and working groups at local and international level to drive forward our agenda on responsible banking. These include the following:
UNEP Finance initiative. We are a founding signatory of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Banking. We also participate along with other 15 banks in the UNEP FI pilot project on implementing the TCFD recommendations for banks.
World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Our president, Ana Botín, is a member of the executive committee. And we participate in the WBCSD Future of Work initiative, by looking into how to adapt our own business and human resource strategy to evolve with the digital age.
Banking Environment Initiative (BEI). We participate in two climate related work streams, the Soft Commodities Compact and the new initiative Bank 2030, which aims to build a roadmap for the banking industry to 2030 seeking to increase the financing to low carbon activities.
CEO Partnership for Financial Inclusion. We, along with other nine companies are part of a private sector alliance for financial inclusion, an initiative promoted by Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, Special Representative of the United Nations to promote Inclusive Financing for Development.
Equator Principles. We analyse the environmental and social risks of all our financing operations under the scope of the Equator Principles and we actively participate in the evolution of a common criteria.

In addition, during 2019 we took an active role in the climate change and sustainable finance policy debate, participating in the formal consultation process on relevant regulatory files (particularly in Europe) and industry forums focusing on the transition to a low carbon economy. We have worked very closely with trade bodies - including the Institute of International Finance, European Financial Services Round Table, the Association for Financial Markets in Europe, and the European Banking Federation - to reach common positions on issues so relevant as the EU framework for identifying sustainable economic activities (the so-called taxonomy), and the ongoing work on the technical criteria undertaken by the TEG; the disclosure regulation relating to sustainable investment and sustainability risks; or the ongoing work on the identification and management of climate-related risks. In addition, Santander is participating in the EBF-UNEP FI working group that will develop voluntary guidelines for banks on the application of the EU taxonomy.

Other international and local initiatives in which we participate
United Nations Global Compact
International Wildlife Trade Financial Taskforce

UN Women´s Empowerment Principles
Round table in responsible soy
The Valuable 500
Working group on sustainable Livestock
Principles for Responsible Investment
Climate Leadership Council
CDP (before Carbon Disclosure Project)
The Wolfsberg Group
UN Global Investors for Sustainable Development (GISD) Alliance

2019 Form 20-F 

Helping us to address today´s main global challenges: 2030 agenda
We want to do more every day to promote inclusive, sustainable growth and ensure that we are actively tackling climate change.
Our activity and investments help us to contribute to a number of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, and support the Paris Agreement’s aim to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.


Main SDGs where Banco Santander’s business activities and community investments have the most weight.
We are committed to reduce poverty and strengthen the welfare and local economy of the countries in which we operate. Through our microfinance products and services and our community investment programmes we empower and help millions of people each year.

We are at the forefront of support for higher education. Through Santander Universities, a pioneering programme and the only one of its kind in the world, we support universities and students to prosper, focusing on education, entrepreneurship and employment. Santander Scholarships is one of the largest scholarship programme financed by a private company.

We promote an inclusive and diverse workplace. Ensuring equal opportunities and fostering gender equality at all levels is a strategic priority for us. Additionally, we also operate a number of initiatives to support diversity in our business activity.

We have a long history of leadership in the financing of renewable energy projects. Actually, we are the global leader in renewable energy financing. Additionally, we support our customers financing energy efficiency projects, low-emission, electric and hybrid vehicles, and other electric mobility solutions.

We have a prepared and committed team that allows us to respond and meet the needs of customers, help entrepreneurs to create businesses and employment, and strengthen local economies.

We develop products and services for the most vulnerable in society, giving them access to financial services and teaching them how to use these in an appropriate way to manage their finances in the best possible way. We have continued to support diversity and inclusion in our business.

We finance the construction of sustainable infrastructure that guarantees basic services and drives inclusive economic growth. Additionally, we also promote affordable housing opportunities.

We promote sustainable consumption both in our own operations as well as with our customers, offering our products and services that are Simple, Personal and Fair, and promoting ethical behaviours among our suppliers.

We tackle climate change in two main ways: by reducing our own environmental footprint and by supporting our more than 144 million customers to help them transition towards a more sustainable economy.
We participate actively and we are part of the main initiatives and working groups at local and international level as an important way to manage our responsible banking agenda.


2019 highlights

We have set 11 targets which reflect our commitment to building a more responsible bank...
We work to have a strong corporate culture – a skilled, motivated and diverse workforce that can deliver solutions to our customers’ needs: increase access to finance; improve financial resilience through education and training, and supporting our customers in their transition to the green economy, while reducing our environmental footprint. Meanwhile, we create new opportunities by supporting education through our Universities programme and improving lives in the communities where we operate.

Our aim was to create commitments that were SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. The commitments also reflect the ways in which our business can address the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals most relevant to our operations; and our support for the Paris Agreement’s aim to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.

Our external commitments: we need to deliver
According to relevant external indexes in each country (Great Place to Work, Top Employer, Merco, etc.).
Senior positions represent 1% of total workforce.
Calculation of equal pay gap compares employees of the same job, level and function.
People (unbanked, underbanked or financially vulnerable), who are given access to the financial system, receive tailored finance and increase their knowledge and resilience through financial education.
Includes Santander overall contribution to green finance: project finance, syndicated loans, green bonds, capital finance, export finance, advisory, structuring and other products to help our clients in the transition to a low carbon economy. Commitment from 2019 to 2030 is 220Bn.
In those countries where it is possible to certify renewable sourced electricity for the properties occupied by the Group.

People supported through Santander Universities initiative (students who will receive a Santander scholarship, will achieve an internship in an SME or participate in entrepreneurship programmes supported by the bank).
People helped through our community investment programmes (excluded Santander Universities and financial education initiatives).

2019 Form 20-F 

... and we have continued to address the challenge of the new business environment...

Updated the Corporate Culture Policy, which now incorporates our Leadership commitments under The Santander Way, our updated principles of Diversity and Inclusion, and integrates the Volunteering Policy.
Approved global parental leave minimum standards, which includes minimum period of 14 weeks paid for primary maternity/paternity leave and 4 weeks in a row or divided into periods of 15 days for seconday maternity/paternity leave.
Launched Canal Abierto, a new way for employees to report breaches of the General Code of Conduct and actions that do not reflect our corporate behaviour.
Launched new customer feedback techniques in Portugal and Mexico, so we can improve our products and services.
Developed corporate guidelines for good practices on treatment of vulnerable customers, so we can cater for their individual needs and help prevent over-indebtedness.
Opened our new corporate Cyber Security centre to protect Santander, our systems and customers from cyber threats.
Integrated new ESG criteria into suppliers' certification process.
Signed the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles.
Signed 'The Valuable 500'. Commitment to put inclusion of people with disabilities on our board room agenda.
…while promoting inclusive and sustainable growth...

Signed, as a founder member, the United Nations Principles for Responsible Banking, created to use the power of finance to tackle the major challenges that societies face, and support the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.
Signed the Collective Commitment to Climate Action, which sets out concrete and time-bound actions that banks will take to scale up their contribution to and align their lending with the Paris Climate Agreement.
Analysed part of our portfolio's alignment to climate scenarios, as a step towards addressing the recommendations of the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures.
Launched Santander Sustainable & Green Bonds Frameworks and issued a €1 billion green bond, starting our global sustainable debt plan.
Launched a new Green Bond investment fund that completes Santander Asset Management sustainable range, exceeding EUR 1,500 million of assets under management.
Joined the United Nations' CEO Alliance on Global Investors for Sustainable Development (GISD) to help scale up long-term investment in sustainability development.
Joined the International Wildlife Trade Financial Taskforce as a part of the Group’s commitment to the prevention and deterrence of wildlife trafficking.

We have received global recognition for our efforts

Santander was recognised as the most sustainable bank in the world in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

We also have been recognised as one of the top 25 companies to work for in the world by Great Place to Work and as one of the Best Places to Work in Latin America.

We received the Top Employer Europe certification, which acknowledges excellence in the working conditions a company provides to its employees and its contribution to their personal and professional development.


Santander leads the 2020 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index out of 322 companies analysed. The index is focused on several metrics like equal pay & gender parity, inclusivity and female leadership & talent.

Santander Brazil was recognised by Fortune Magazine as one of the companies that are changing the world, and by Great Place to Work as one of the 10 companies that stand out for their corporate practices focused on the LGBTQI+.

Santander Mexico was recognised in the International Finance Banking Awards for being “the most Socially Responsible Bank in Mexico” for second time.


The new business environment
To meet the challenge of the new business environment, we’re focusing on...


2019 Form 20-F 



Our strong corporate culture: The Santander Way
The Santander Way reflects our purpose, our aim, and how we do business. It is the bedrock on which we are building a more responsible bank.

To be more responsible, we need a strong culture
Our corporate culture is critical to Santander´s ambition to build a more responsible banking. By fulfilling our purpose, and helping people and businesses prosper, we grow as a business while helping society address its challenges. Economic progress and social progress go together. The value created by our business is shared to the benefit of all.

The Santander Way

To live The Santander Way, and be Simple, Personal and Fair in all we do, in 2016 we defined eight corporate behaviours.
We have embedded them in every step of the employee’s lifecycle, making sure they are present in everything we do: from recruitment and hiring, performance management, training, career development, remuneration, recognition, etc.

“Just as important as what we do is how we do it”
Ana Botín, Group Executive Chairman

2019 Form 20-F 

Leadership commitments
Leadership is key if we are to accelerate our business and cultural transformation. That is why, in 2019, we launched the Leadership Commitments for our leaders. These Commitments had been defined by more than 300 employees from across 28 different units and countries in the Group.
To embed the Commitments in all our operations worldwide, we ran a major internal communications campaign; and included them in the leaders' development programs and specific training modules. Four questions,
which reflect the Leadership Commitments, have been included in the global engagement survey and feed into the performance management system, MyContribution.
We have also changed our corporate culture policy to reflect leadership commitments as a common minimum standard (mandatory) in all units.

To embed a strong culture, in 2019 we focused on the initiatives below.
Stakeholder perception of Santander as a Simple, Personal and Fair bank
of employees believe that their colleagues behave in a way that is more simple, personal and fair

of customers think they have been treated in a Simple, Personal and Fair way

of shareholders think the bank is Simple Personal and Fair

of university students think the bank is Simple, Personal and Fair


Cultural transformation: a never-ending journey
Cultural transformation takes time. The Santander Way journey started in 2015, and since then we have focused hard on making all we do Simple Personal and Fair.

Our culture transformation is a 3-phase journey … we are moving into phase 3


Culture Plan 2019 objectives and achievements
Diversity & Inclusion
Promote gender diversity and pay equality.
Foster cultural diversity.

Corporate vendor process to incorporate D&I principles.

External gender commitments launched
Bloomberg Gender Equality index: highest score
40% women on the Board
Equal pay improved from 3% to 2%
Approved global maternity and paternity minimum standards
D&I included in vendor assessments
Gender and cultural diversity targets set for 2025

Speaking up
Global minimum standards and the promotion of anonymous whistle-blowing channels.

Global minimum standards approved
Anonymous "escalations" channels in all geographies
2% increase in Global Engagement Survey "speak up" related question

SPF for customers
Development & communication of Consumer protection principles.

Promote conduct global training for customer facing employees.

Consumer protection principles launched and embedded
>90% of customer facing workforce completed conduct training
Top 3 for Customer Satisfaction in 6 countries

Define and map simplification current position for people & customers.
Simplify governance structures to improve accountability and decision-making.

Global mapping completed and measurement standards introduced
Strategic simplification projects identified
48% reduction in head quarters committees, saving 533 senior management hours
Corporate policies reduction: 30%

Further details regarding Diversity & Inclusion and Speaking up can be found in Talented and Motivated team chapter. How we are making our approach Simple, Personal and Fair for Customers is within Responsible Business Practices chapter.

2019 Form 20-F 

Simplification is a priority for our Responsible Banking agenda, not only because Simple is one of our core values, but also because it is closely related to the ability to adapt to a changing environment, which remains a challenge for the Group according to feedback from our stakeholders.
An initiative was launched in 2019, working with countries and global areas, to ensure we meet our customers' and employees' expectations of making Santander a Simple bank.
This means:
focusing on processes and systems that are both internal and customer-facing.
breaking down silos so we work across business units and geographies, or, where appropriate, focusing on local projects and initiatives.
During 2019 we asked our employees and customers what their priorities are in terms of simplification. They told us they wanted:
clear, simple language
processes that are easy to understand
quick service
easy to understand products.

In light of these findings, we have launched from Group a series of initiatives. For example:
Simplification is now included in the objectives for management roles.
We have simplified the Group's structure into three regions: Europe, South America, North America.
We have launched the new website to provide a simplified and streamlined platform for our stakeholders.
We have developed a new digital workplace platform to enhance and promote communications, collaboration and best practice sharing across the Group. It will be launched during 2020.
We simplified our HR platform for our employees to make it easier to access relevant information.
A products and services global review is being conducted, focusing in particular on speed of service.
A systems review is being conducted, and improvements made to foster digitalization, making it easier for customers to deal with us and for teams to work together.
Using agile methodologies, we are changing processes to reduce the time to market, time to make decisions and boost collaboration.
Portugal, a case study on simplification
Santander Portugal has conducted a series of initiatives to simplify its operations:
Processes: through a focus on end to end process simplification, the time to market for mortgages has been reduced from 75 days to below 25 days, becoming the best in class in Portugal. The focus is now on reducing the end to end process for individual loans, reducing time from an average of 11 days to a few hours. This will be deployed in 2020.
Product offering: reducing and simplifying the number of products being marketed and enhancing digital channels in the following business lines remains a key area of focus: accounts, cards, credit, savings & investment and protection. The target is to reduce the number of products from 206 to 54.
In 2019, they focused on reducing the number of products related to individuals from 159 to 77.
Operational excellence: alignment of processes transformation with business priorities, with strong focus on improving the internal customer experience and cost savings, including automation tools that that decrease implementation time for new processes and reduce manual intervention along several processes.
Governance: reduction in number of committees from 37 to 27. Simplification has increased transparency, effectiveness and efficiency in decision-making, reducing duplication and the time spent preparing for and attending meetings.


Risk pro: our risk culture
Managing risk is the business of banking - and prudent risk management is a cornerstone of a responsible bank. This requires clear policies, processes and lines of accountability – all backed by a strong risk culture that reflects the fact that, in a bank like Santander, everyone has a role to play in managing risk.
Banks' approach to risk, and their "risk culture", is under increasing regulatory scrutiny: the European Central Bank and other regulators are focusing on how risk is understood at all levels in financial services.
Against this backdrop of constant change, with new types of risk emerging and increasing regulatory requirements, the Group maintains an excellent level of risk management that enables it to achieve sustainable growth.
Our risk culture is called risk proA, with the aim of promoting everyone´s personal responsibility for managing risks, regardless of their level or role. This requires prudent risk management, while building a sound internal risk management culture across the whole organisation, which is understood and implemented by all employees.
Risk pro is included within the common minimum standards within the Corporate Culture Policy.

Embedding a strong risk culture
In 2019 we have continued to focus on embedding the importance of risk culture across all areas of the employee lifecycle including:
recruitment and onboarding
training and awareness
performance management and reward
day to day management including promoting speaking up and raising concerns
best practice sharing and promoting the importance of risk culture from our senior executives

*I AM Risk is the name of Risk Pro in UK and US

Risk management: key to being a responsible bank
Our approach to risk management and compliance is key to ensuring we operate and behave in a way that reflects our values and corporate culture, and delivers our responsible banking strategy. It is based on three lines of defence:
Business and support units
Risk management and compliance
Internal audit
The board of directors is responsible for the risk control and management, and, in particular, for setting the risk appetite for the Group. To do this it counts with the expert support of the risk, supervision, regulation and compliance board committee.
Risks related to compliance, conduct, digitalisation and climate change, as well as the analysis of social, environmental and reputational risks, are clearly highly relevant to our efforts to build a responsible bank. These are overseen by risk supervision, regulation and compliance board committee.
In 2019, following the recommendations made by TCFD, a special effort was invested in the analysis and identification of short, medium, and long-term climate change risks (for more information, see the Sustainable finance chapter).
For more information on environmental and social risks can be found in section 2.5 of the Risk Management and Control chapter.
Information on measures taken to prevent corruption and bribery, money laundering and financing of terrorism is available in section 7.3 of the Risk Management and Control chapter.


of employees claim that they are able to identify and feel responsible for the risks they face in their daily work.

of employees claim that cyber security is considered a critical priority.

of employees consider that senior leadership encourages reporting important information up-the-line even if it is bad news.

of employees affirm they can report unethical behaviour or practices without fear of retaliation.

Source: Global engagement survey 2019

2019 Form 20-F 

Cybersecurity is critical in the digital age. Cyber attacks and fraud risk pose systemic risks to financial services. Customers expect their data to be held securely and handled ethically. Therefore embedding behaviour that promotes cybersecurity remains a key priority for us.
Our aim is to help employees, customers and wider society prosper in the cyber space. Our Cybersecurity and IT conduct Policy defines acceptable use of Santander equipment and Information Technology (IT) services, and the appropriate employee cybersecurity and IT conduct rules to protect Santander.
The policy also highlights areas of risk and misuse and gives guidance on how reputational or commercial risks can be avoided, mitigated or managed through Santander´s key cybersecurity rules. Our policy also sets out how the Group and its subsidiaries must use and handle technology, work tools and information Santander gives its employees so as to avoid legal, reputational or cyber-related incidents.
In 2019 a wide range of employee training and awareness campaigns have been launched across all entities in the Group, including online courses, articles, and practical exercises. Furthermore, a new tool for employees to help them to report any cyber incident was developed. This tool is available through a website or through "App Tips". Information is also being shared with customers and general public through Santander digital channels, such us social media, banking apps, emails and the web.
As well as this, a new Global Cyber Security Centre was launched. The centre protects Santander, our systems and customers by taking a proactive approach to monitoring cyber threats 24 hours, 7 days a week, across all of Santander’s core markets.
We also work in partnership with public and private organisations to promote information sharing and collaboration on cyber security. Activities include: building bilateral information sharing processes with key public entities and peers; leading efforts across key geographies to help increase information sharing with government agencies and local financial institutions; and championing the creation of international information sharing mechanisms to help combat cyber crime.

Cybersecurity is a responsibility for everyone employed or engaged in any way by Santander.

For more information on the cyber-risk training given to our employees see "A talented and motivated team" section of this chapter.

For more information on our cyber security plan see "Risk management and control model" chapter.

Our cybersecurity and IT conduct policy has five simple rules to help protect employees and Santander, which have been promoted throughout 2019.
Protect your information and equipment
Be discreet online and in public
Think before you click or reply
Keep your passwords safe
If you suspect it, report it


A talented and motivated team
To win in the new business environment, and to earn and retain customers’ loyalty, we need a workforce that is both talented and motivated. And if we are to understand the needs of today’s society, our team needs to reflect its diversity.

Target for 2021
Progress 2019

We believe that by acting responsibly towards our employees, we will build a strong team that is willing to go the extra mile for our customers. This will generate predictable returns for our shareholders, enabling us to invest more to support communities – which builds employees’ pride in Santander. This is the virtuous circle of loyalty which drives success. In 2019 we set the target to be one of the top 10 companies to work for in at least 6 of geographies where we operate by 2021.A

A. According to a well-known external source in each country (Great Place to Work, Top Employer, Merco, etc.).
*Portugal, Chile, Argentina, Spain and Uruguay. In Portugal the employed ranking was that corresponding to businesses with more than 1,000 employees.

2019 Form 20-F 

Talent Management
Successful businesses need skilled and motivated teams: a responsible business attracts the best talent and earns its loyalty. Talent management and retention is therefore one of our key human resources strategies.
We have developed a number of core projects which will help us attract and retain the best talent:
Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP) aims to identify and quantify the resources and skills needed to deliver the future business strategy. This dynamic tool allows a detailed analysis to help Human Resources and Organisation teams to create action plans and address the need of new and changing profiles.
Skill Model helps focus our current workforce up-skilling and re-skilling efforts.
Dojo is the programme that tackles Santander’s learning and development transformational challenge.
Finally, Workday, the new human resources information system global platform, will provide us with a seamless view of individuals' skills and competences, while making it easier to communicate internally and work together.
Main Group data
Total employees (thousand)
% employees with a permanent contract
% employees working full time
Employees joining/leaving (turnover)
% of workforce promoted
Average length of service (years)
% coverage of collective agreements
For additional information, see ‘Key metrics’ section of this chapter

Talent attraction
Santander’s workforce is constantly evolving and developing. Our ability to identify the talent we need to contribute to the company’s vision, as well as how to recruit and retain these people, is critical in order to remain at the forefront of the industry.
Global career site
In 2019 we launched the new global careers site, a gateway for the talent which will continue to build the future of Santander over the next few years. Candidates and employees can search on one website for career opportunities all around the world in all the Group's companies.
In 2019 we also created the Global Talent Attraction Community, to design and implement global initiatives to recruit new talent.
Santander Effect: our employee value proposition
We have updated our employee value proposition and launched The Santander Effect, reflecting our values and highlighting Santander as an employer of choice for current and future talent.
Digital Cellar
Following our internal research (80 interviews in 4 geographies) we have identified target areas for talent attraction such as Cybersecurity, Data Science and User Experience. This enables us to target our attraction and recruitment strategies with personalised elements which are most relevant to prospective recruits, helping us to differentiate Santander from other companies competing for the same talent.
To achieve this, in 2019 we launched the Digital Cellar website and toolkit to attract and retain the digital talent we need.
Social dialogue
Banco Santander maintains a fluid and permanent social dialogue with the legal representation of employees, which is articulated through bilateral meetings and specific committees where the dynamics of information, participation, consultation and negotiation of the trade union representatives are channelled. Respect for labour standards, trade union rights, and freedom of association and collective representation, are relevant aspects for the Group.

Restructuring processes
In the last few years, Santander has restructured its workforce, affecting people's roles and employment. Whenever this has happened, we have followed a series of steps, namely:
We negotiate and engage with the local unions and legal representatives, ensuring employees' rights are respected.
We commit to supporting employees by offering alternative roles within Santander or finding alternative roles in other companies.
We undertake to make redundancy payments in excess of the mandatory amount paid to employees being made redundant.


Talent development
Identifying talent with leadership potential, and giving employees the chance to progress in their careers and fulfil their ambitions, is key to accelerating Santander’s transformation and achieve our purpose of helping people and business prosper.
Our main programmes to identify and develop the best talent are:
Talent review. A structured process to identify and assess the potential of our employees.
Succession planning. Succession planning for the key positions in the Group to ensure the sustainability of Santander.
Action Learning Programme Santander (ALPS). A learning programme for senior management talent. ALPS develops leadership and business problem resolution skills within a collaborative environment. In 2019 we concluded the second series of this programme and launched a third one. Since its launch, 95 people have participated.
Young Leaders. Launched in 2018, this 18-month professional development programme is aimed at 280 emerging leaders from 22 countries, who have distinguished themselves with their digital understanding, innovative approach, adherence to our SPF culture and corporate behaviours. Participants were chosen by their peers, and have the chance to work with our top executives and contribute to the strategy of Santander by proposing new ideas and perspectives. A second series is planned for September 2020.
Talent mobility
The mobility of our employees is an essential if we are to develop talent. We want to give our employees the chance of further career opportunities and professional progress, while increasing the diversity of the teams by providing businesses with employees with different profiles and experiences.
Our main mobility programmes are:
Global Job Posting. This offers all employees the chance to apply for vacant positions in other countries, companies or divisions. Since its launch in 2014, over 5,500 positions have been posted globally.
Mundo Santander. Our employees can work for several months on a project in another country, helping the exchange of best practices and broadening their global mindset. Since its launch, over 2,000 people in 38 different countries have taken part.

"Mundo Santander allowed me to meet incredible people, learn new languages and broaden my horizons"
Jonathan Lee, UK

Santander, a great company to work for
Santander has received Top Employers Europe 2019 certification, which acknowledges excellence in the working conditions a business provides for its employees, and the business's contribution to their personal and professional development. The Group is being awarded this certificate for companies in eight European countries.
In 2019 the Bank has also been included (for the first time} in the Great Place to Work list of the 25 best companies to work for in the world. Santander ranked 24th and is the world's 2nd best bank to work for thanks to the performance of our operations in Portugal, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Uruguay, among others.
As well as this, Santander was distinguished by Great Place to Work as one of the Best Places to Work 2019 in Latin America in the Multinationals category, ranking no. 15.
In 2019 we set a new target to be top 10 employer in 6 of the countries we operate by 2021. We have changed our commitment to be a "top bank" to be a "top company", to reflect the competitive environment we operate in to attract best talent.


2019 Form 20-F 

Learning and development
Continuous learning is key to helping our employees adapt to a fast-paced, continuously changing work environment. We have a global policy on induction, knowledge and development that provides criteria for the design, review, implementation and supervision of training to:
Support the business transformation.
Encourage global talent management, facilitating innovation, knowledge transfer and sharing and identifying key employees in the various skills domains.
Support the company’s cultural transformation under the governance standards set for the Group, including the Corporate Culture Policy and Code of Conduct.
To support the required up-skilling and re-skilling of our current workforce identified by our Strategic Workforce Planning, the foundations of two transformational projects have been set to be launched in 2020: Skill Model and Dojo.
Santander's Skill Model will help us focus efforts up-skill and re-skill the workforce by helping our professionals assess their capacity gap - in other words, the gap between what they know now and the demands of the future.
Dojo is the programme that tackles Santander’s learning and development transformational challenge in 4 levels -technology, content, operating model and data - by interconnecting all Santander countries in one global L&D ecosystem, in order to accelerate the required up-skilling/reskilling of our workforce.
This will transform Santander’s course-based training to a skill-based training approach, linked to the new global skill model shared with Workday and Strategic Workforce Planning.
In 2019, the Global Learning Council, composed of Chief Learning Officers of all geographies was established as part of the strategic governance transformation.
The Scouts Community was also launched as a key element of Dojo, a global community of experts whom the Group´s employees can contact for advice about various topics.
Main Group data


Millions invested in training


Investment per employee (euros)


% employees trained


Hours of training per employee


Employee satisfaction (over 10)


For additional information, see ‘Key metrics’ section of this chapter

Other focus areas for training in 2019
The Risk Pro Banking School and Academy, together with the other training centres for risk, help define the best strategic training lines for the Bank's professionals in accordance with Group priorities, as well as disseminating the risk culture & developing the best talent.
The Global School of Internal Audit supports the training and developing of auditors by providing practical training solutions designed to complement business evolution and regulators' requirements.
Leaders Academy Experience is an executive programme with two work-streams - business transformation and cultural transformation - to make it easier for participants (638 senior leaders and 280 young leaders) to transform the Group, and to equip them with the tools and training they need to accelerate change. In 2019, the "Leading in the digital era" programme was the key pillar of this training.
Leading in the digital era: an executive masterclass for the 35 top leaders of the Group which provides a foundation of technical knowledge, creating a common language and underscoring the urgency of our mission to become a global platform. The programme is sponsored by our Executive Chairman and leads to a certification.
Cyber Heroes global programme is an online training programme which aims to reinforce the idea that each of us play a direct role in the protection of Santander, our people and customers. The objective is to build a culture of cybersecurity awareness, and put into practice cybersecurity rules outlined in the Cybersecurity Policy. This training became mandatory for all the countries and business inside the Group in 2019.


Sharing good practices across the Group
Fostering collaboration and sharing best practices helps us leverage our global scale and improve our performance faster.
In 2019, more than fifteen global workshops were held by the different functions. Some of these are:
Good Conduct with Customers Workshop: focused on conduct with customers, digitalization and process simplification.
Planning and monitoring Compliance&Conduct (C&C) programmes: these aimed at reinforcing the process of C&C planning and monitoring annual programmes.
First Data Forum: focused on the relevance of data and how Santander must extract maximum value from it in a responsible way.
First workshop on best reputational risk practices: the purpose of this workshop was to strengthen the network of people working on reputational risk and share experiences and best practices.
Internal communications workshop: shared best practices and discussed on how to move forward towards a single digital workplace across the Group.
Responsible Banking Workshop: helped outline the future of Santander Responsible Banking strategy.
In addition, through country visits and presentations to monthly Culture Steering meetings, good practices are shared. Some local initiatives that have been shared wider and adopted in other countries include:
Risk Pro Heroes, developed and launched in Poland to recognise employees who have highlighted potential fraud has also been adopted in Germany;
the UK Keep it Simple Santander (KISS), which has been adopted and launched in the US during 2019;
the successful Work Cafe, launched in Chile a couple of years ago, which has been extended in a number of countries including Spain and UK in 2019.

2019 Form 20-F 

Evaluation and remuneration
We have a comprehensive remuneration system that combines a fixed salary (which reflects the individual’s role and level of responsibility) with short- and long-term variable remuneration. This system rewards employees for their performance on the basis of merit. It reflects both what has been achieved (Group targets and individual or team targets) and how these results are obtained (reflecting behaviour and conduct such as leadership, commitment, development and risk management). In addition, the Group also offers competitive benefits such as pension plans, banking products and services, life insurance and medical insurance.
Fixed remuneration is referenced to the local market. Remuneration levels are set according to local practices and strictly follow the collective agreements applicable in each geography and community. Variable remuneration is a form of reward for achieving the Group’s quantitative and qualitative strategic targets.
To align with European regulations on remuneration, we have identified 1,359 staff who take decisions that may involve some risk for the Group. We apply to them a deferral policy for their variable remuneration which includes deferral of between three and seven years, payment in shares (50% of variable remuneration) and potential reduction (malus) or recovery (clawback).
Main initiatives developed in 2019:
Support the adoption and methodology to include responsible banking within executive remuneration framework.
Continue to reinforce the embedding of risk frameworks within the context of remuneration.
Drive the awareness of fair pay practices, including gender pay, equal pay, and diversity inclusion within remuneration.

Approved for 2020:
In the 2020 executive scorecard (which underpins the Group’s remuneration scheme), when calculating our achievement of our profitability metrics, we will consider progress against our Responsible Banking targets.

For additional information regarding remuneration data see ‘Key metrics’ section of this chapter.

For additional information regarding board remuneration see section 6 of the Corporate governance chapter.