"It is very important what has been agreed and that it has been done in a consensual way"

The president of Banco Santander, Ana Botín, has positioned herself this Wednesday in favor of the labor reform, which must be endorsed this Thursday by the Congress of Deputies. The executive has assured in the press conference to present the bank's results that she thinks "what has been agreed is very important, that it has been done in a consensual manner". Thus, she considers that it is a guarantee that it has been agreed both by the Government, as well as by unions and by employers. "It is good that an agreement has been reached, it is the way to do things," she stressed.

Botín added that there can be no improvement in the well-being of Spaniards if there is no economic growth and job creation. However, at the same time, he has suggested his discrepancies with other reforms that are coming, such as the fiscal one. "We compete with other countries with regulatory and tax systems equal to or more attractive than Spain," he assured, defending that the tax burden on companies is already higher than in Europe —although corporate tax collects less in Spain than in most of surrounding countries. "There are companies that pay less than their share, that everyone pays before always looking at the same ones," said the president of the largest Spanish bank, in a veiled reference to technology companies.

Although he has shown his endorsement of the labor reform led by Vice President Yolanda Díaz, he has shaken off the criticism that the Minister of Labor made in the Senate on Tuesday about the high salaries of the directors of the Ibex 35. Díaz pointed out that they are "obscene" the salaries of managers, being 118 times higher on average than those of their workers. Botín has justified this fact by ensuring that "there is a war for enormous talent" and that "people must be paid according to what is charged in the market". "That is, if we compare ourselves with European countries, if we compare ourselves with the US, wages would have to be higher," he added. As the banking directors did last year in the face of similar criticism from the Government, in that case by the first vice president Nadia Calviño, Botín added that bankers' salaries are already "highly regulated".

The president of Banco Santander has also not been alluded to about the growing controversy that exists in Spain due to the digital divide and the financial exclusion suffered by older people and which has caused even the Government to demand new measures from the sector to solve this problem. . "Our model combines dealing with customers with what you ask of us, which is to operate from your mobile," the executive pointed out. Botín has denied that the digital transformation of the banking sector has gone "too fast" and has claimed that with its branches and with the agreement with Correos to offer basic services in its establishments "we cover 97% of the population". The bank has ruled out any new branch closures this year after closing almost 1,000 in 2021.

Banco Santander closed last year with a return to profit, obtaining its highest profit in 12 years in the fourth quarter of the year. The course closed with a profit of 8,124 million euros, compared to losses of almost 9,000 million a year earlier due to provisions for the pandemic and various accounting adjustments in some of its subsidiaries. The company's annual result is already 25% above the data from before the pandemic. With regard exclusively to business in Spain, the bank earned 957 million euros, 85% more than a year earlier.

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