August 7, 2020

Botín calls for “responsible” governments to support companies

The president of Banco Santander, Ana Botín, asked this Sunday “responsible governments” in Europe and in the countries “to understand that if companies are not supported, if business benefits are not generated, we cannot have a social economy.”

This is stated by the president in an interview with El País, in which she trusts that in October the global health and economic situation allows the entity to “reassess” the payment of the 2020 dividend, which in early April it had left in the air.

In addition, he points out that they are working with the real estate and construction sector, with experts and with the Official Credit Institute (ICO) to help young people buy their first home, a program that would create around 500,000 jobs.

“We have to strive to create decent employment and maintain adequate levels of social protection and priority public spending,” says Botín, adding that growth is only sustainable if it is inclusive.

“And only by supporting the entrepreneur, and the companies, everything else is possible. Without private initiative, there is no growth. It is necessary to create the conditions so that investors, from within and without, invest and trust our future.”

In the collaboration program between the private and public sector that the president of the bank talks about, the buyer of the house would pay only 5% of the value of the house and the bank would give the mortgage for the remaining 95%, with a 20% ICO guarantee.

He adds that if thanks to this collaboration scheme 150,000 houses could be built, around 500,000 jobs could be created, thousands of young people would be helped to become independent, many SMEs and self-employed would be saved and the unemployment bill would be reduced.

He also points out that the public guarantee model in general is working well but it has “some specific problem”, such as the allocation of quotas on ICO lines.

It would have been more effective, he says, if requests had been met on a first-come, first-served basis, and as is done in countries like Germany, rather than through a quota allocation system.

He explains that Santander has a total credit share of 18%, the same that has been granted to them on the lines, although in the business segment the bank reaches 27%.

“If you are an SME with three employees, you have a bank and that bank knows you. You are not going to go to a new bank in the middle of the crisis. We have had a great demand and we still have not been able to respond to all requests. So it is so important that they enable the 100,000 million (the figure advanced by the Government) as soon as possible, “he adds.

In addition, he argues that Europe must quickly launch a common fiscal and regulatory revival program, not only to accelerate the recovery, but also to preserve the Single Market and competition because both can be affected by the very different fiscal spaces that countries have. members.

Thus, it indicates that while the guarantee program through the ICO is equivalent to 10% of the GDP, the comparable one in Germany represents 30% of the German GDP.

“If this asymmetry of response is not compensated by competition regulation and a European fiscal program, there is a risk of putting Spanish companies at a disadvantage, not only because of the amount of the program but also because of the disparate guarantee percentages. In Spain, in ICO lines, banks, in addition to providing liquidity, we assume between 20% and 30% of the risk, “he explains.


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