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By Mauro F. Guillén, Adrian Tschoegl

In 2004, Spain's Banco Santander bought Britain's Abbey nationwide financial institution in a deal worth fifteen billion dollars--an acquisition that made Santander one of many ten greatest monetary associations on the planet. the following, Mauro Guill?n and Adrian Tschoegl take on the query of ways this once-sleepy, family-run provincial financial institution in a constructing financial system reworked itself right into a financial-services staff with greater than sixty-six million buyers on 3 continents. based a hundred and fifty years in the past within the Spanish port urban of an analogous identify, Santander is the one huge financial institution on the planet the place 3 successive generations of 1 kinfolk have led best administration and the board of administrators. yet Santander is totally smooth. Drawing on wealthy info and in-depth interviews with kinfolk and executives, Guill?n and Tschoegl show how strategic judgements by way of the kinfolk and intricate political, social, technological, and financial forces drove Santander's remarkable upward push to worldwide prominence. The authors position the financial institution during this aggressive milieu, evaluating it with its competitors in Europe and the USA, and exhibiting how Santander, confronted with growing to be pageant in Spain and Europe, sought progress possibilities in Latin the United States and somewhere else. in addition they tackle the complexities of managerial succession and kinfolk management, and weigh the consequences of Santander's stellar upward push for the consolidation of ecu banking. development an international financial institution tells the interesting tale in the back of this strong corporation's amazing transformation--and of the kin at the back of it.

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They dispatched directors to the boards of the most prominent Spanish firms in mining, iron and steel, railways, and electricity (Tortella and Palafox 1984). They could even fix maximum interest rates on deposits and regulate conditions for entry into the banking sector, thanks to the corporatist Banking Law of 1921, which enshrined a banking cartel with a new, self-regulating institutional mechanism, the Higher Banking Council, composed of representatives from the private banking sector. The rise of the mixed banks created a peculiar pattern of corporate development and control.

In fact, the bank’s annual reports to shareholders contain veiled statements showing the frustration at not being able to expand more quickly. At the time of its 100th anniversary in 1957, Santander had 129 branches located in twenty-eight of Spain’s fifty provinces and representative offices in London, Havana, Mexico City, and Caracas. In spite of acquisitions, one could not yet consider 29 A FA M I LY BA N K’S OR IG I NS Santander a bank of national scope. Its presence remained focused on northern Spain and on the biggest cities (Barcelona, Bilbao, and Madrid), with rather minimal operations in most rural areas (except around Santander and neighboring provinces), the South, and the Mediterranean periphery.

Though relatively isolated by land, Santander, known to the Romans as Portus Victoriae, was an important short- and longdistance harbor, with an emerging commercial bourgeoisie. More than three peasants in four were landowners, which engendered a thriving commercial economy and a cohesive social structure. ), and 132 “owners” (Hoyo Aparicio 1993, 19–20). Santander had experienced rapid commercial growth since the 1820s, and especially during the 1830s, as the Basque ports to the east suffered from the first civil war between the liberals and the conservatives.

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