Marcelino Castrillo

Positive partnerships

Forming the right relationships is vital to the success of any business, emphasises Marcelino Castrillo, Managing Director of Commercial Banking at Santander UK.

Through the rough and the smooth

This issue of Business Up Close champions businesses which have successfully undergone a major process of change. Whether faced with financial difficulties or issues around customer perception and trust, these are inspirational companies that have not been beaten by the challenge. They have instead taken a step back, examined where things were going wrong, and been brave enough to embrace a fresh strategy. In the face of a crisis, turning things around for the better is rarely simple but, with determination and tenacity and help from the right people, it is amazing what can be achieved.

What this means to us

As a bank, our first priority is to understand what our business customers want to achieve and work with them to tailor solutions to these objectives and ambitions. Our Relationship Directors work closely with the businesses they look after. For instance, A&P, a leading ship repair company with £100 million turnover, is just one of our customers which has welcomed having access to on-the-ground support, with Group Financial Controller Gary Foster saying that Santander works in “real partnership” with his business. We are keen to address the recognised funding gap for companies with turnovers under £10 million. Two of our fast-growing SME customers have recently benefitted from Growth Capital investment made available through our Breakthrough programme: Vocality, which produces voice communication systems, and YourVets, a string of veterinary practices in Solihull. Both companies have said this funding will enable them to create jobs, and realise exciting opportunities for development – so they can grow their businesses without a negative impact on cashflow.

Customers are our priority

You may be aware of Santander UK’s recent decision not to agree to a further extension of the timeframe for the sale and purchase of certain branch based businesses by Santander UK from the RBS Group plc. Our number one priority, throughout this process, was to ensure a seamless journey for customers. However, it became apparent that we could not be satisfied that a seamless transfer to Santander UK could be achieved within a reasonable timeframe. On this basis, we reluctantly took the decision that a further extension of the contract was not in the best interests of customers or staff. As a result, both parties agreed that the agreement terminated on the 12th October 2012, which means that the transfer to us will not take place.

However, supporting British business remains our priority and we’re as resolved as ever to continue providing more British businesses with a genuine alternative for their banking with our supportive and proactive approach.

We can do more

Despite enjoying good relationships with our customers, we are always looking for better ways to do things, with one very exciting development being the imminent roll-out of our new Internet Banking platform, which we are confident will provide the best possible service to our customers. Ultimately, our aim is to make a tangible difference to the bottom line of the companies we work with, which means continually striving for excellence in all our interactions, whether face-to-face or remotely. One of our customers benefitting from this commitment to going the extra mile is Cromwell Dental Practice in Glasgow, currently expanding into a second surgery backed by a Santander Corporate Banking funding deal. Husband and wife team Sandeep and Rachel Chita plan to merge their two practices to create a larger and more dynamic practice offering a wider range of treatments. Sandeep said: “We have been pleased with the service we received from the team at Santander and look forward to deepening that relationship over the coming years.”

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John Carroll - Helping businesses achieve International success. Head of Product Management & International Business, Santander UK