The Business Year

Manuel De La Cruz

COLOMBIA - Finance

Reinforcing Growth

CEO, Banco Santander de Negocio Colombia


Manuel De La Cruz is the CEO of Banco Santander de Negocio Colombia. He has an MBA from the Instituto de Empresas de Madrid and 26 years of professional experience. He began his career at the Danish multinational DANFOSS.

TBY talks to Manuel De La Cruz, CEO of Banco Santander de Negocio Colombia, on its strategies to increase its income, its offerings to investors, and its targets for the year.

What major accomplishments has Santander achieved in the past five years?

The mission of Santander Group is to contribute to the growth and development of people and companies. The Santander Group has a balanced geographical spread across its top 10 markets, where it also enjoys market shares in Latin America, such as Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Colombia. Colombia develops products distributed through the group’s commercial networks to meet the needs of customers around the world and the country. Our major accomplishments are the consolidation of corporate banking services addressed to middle and large sized companies interested in enhancing their business overseas and opening branches in Colombia; the reinforcement of our social responsibility through our partner Universia, whose management started 15 years ago by offering services and supporting projects led by main Colombian universities focused on digital transformation, professional guidance, and implementing the “first job experience” for graduates; the consolidation of our credit finance solutions through Premier Credit, one of our five companies dedicated to design complete solutions to the manufacturer, dealer, and final consumer; and our investment banking company, Santander, born as a strategic partner in financing important infrastructure projects and offering M&A services to global and local companies.

How did Santander increase its operational income over 46% in 2017?

Our business operational model has three pillars: loans portfolio, return on financial transactions, and fees. Our risk admission process allows us to have an extremely healthy and harmonious growth in our loans portfolio, as we can guarantee the level of duty of our customers when fulfilling their payment commitments. We also had an important and homogeneous growth in the return on financial transactions and fees, especially a greater impact on the latter, which create high value to the customers and group itself.

Can you give us an overview of the specific products and services you offer international and local investors?

As an international bank, we offer our customers the following services: an international desk for companies trading internationally; confirming and factoring with accurate and appropriate financial advice, such as the type of transaction, term, amount, currency, buyer, country risk conditions, and so on; a treasury desk linked to the Santander Group Treasury teams around the world to guarantee competitive trade conditions to our customers; global debt financing to offer specific and corporate business solutions for infrastructure projects within the country; exclusive financial solutions such as Export Credit Agreements (ECA) that allows Colombian companies to get excellent financing conditions in order to optimize their production equipment, expansion, and refurbishment of existing facilities; as well as a Nexus platform that allows multinationals access to all their banking accounts with one click and the ability to make transfers between all their branches.

Why did you decide to start car loans?

One of Santander’s strategies is consumer finance services, and as a result of this knowledge, Banco Santander launched loan facilities for individuals. We took advantage of Premier Credit’s understanding and experience in this market and, bearing in mind Santander’s capabilities, we created a consolidated proposal addressed to the final consumer that goes through the needs of a multinational company and a local car dealer.

What are your main targets and goals for 2018?

We plan to maintain the healthy path of growth we have built in the last years, and for that reason we are investing in the best, people and tech, to develop the best services. Our main goal is to achieve 40% annual growth in our year-end closing results, continue to strengthen the corporate business by increasing our presence in the market, and thereby reinforce the operation. We recently set up Santander Services Securities, our trust company, focused on the custodian business. We are currently processing and requesting the mandatory licenses from the regulator, and we intend to conquer a relevant position in this market.



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