Management & Strategy
Marcelino Castrillo

Walking the talk

Our commitment to our customers is not just lip service but a driving part of the bank’s culture, explains Marcelino Castrillo, Managing Director of Commercial Banking at Santander UK.

We want to be different

At Santander, we know that since the economic crisis businesses have not had it easy. We also know that when a bank makes a promise to do things differently, or to work with its customers to help them achieve their goals, it can be hard to trust that they mean what they say. That’s why we are making huge efforts to ‘walk the talk’, to follow through with the solutions and long-term support that make a real, tangible, difference to the companies we work with. This issue of Business Up Close is about culture and values – the essence of what makes your business what it is. At the heart of our own culture is providing something different from our competitors. Something that genuinely adds value and, not only helps our existing customers to succeed, but gives new customers an excellent reason to join us. We call it ‘fuelling business ambition’.

Commitment to getting better

Nobody gets it right all the time but we are always working to improve and provide our customers with what they are looking for – practical, workable solutions explained and delivered by knowledgeable, helpful and friendly people who want their business to succeed. Perfection is perhaps an impossible goal, but it is one we strive to achieve at all times. Another key value for us is listening to and communicating with our customers. We cannot stress enough how important it is that businesses and their banking providers achieve a trusting and transparent relationship. Fundamental to this, of course, is us delivering on our aim to be authentic in our promises. However, in order to do this, businesses seeking finance have to tell us as much as they can about their history and their ambitions. This allows us to make the right decisions and make sure that what we are offering really is the best solution.

What we do

Our commitment to fuelling business ambition allows us to step back and consider the bigger picture. As an example, one of our customers, Norbev – a contract bottling company from County Antrim –  came to Santander looking for funding for a new growth plan. Our hands-on approach gave us the confidence to offer a bespoke £11.5 million package that now provides Norbev with the working capital it needs to trade successfully, as well as enable the company to borrow against assets for investment purposes. The new funding has also done away with day-to-day worries about cashflow, allowing the company’s management to focus on growing the business. As James Harkness, Managing Director, says: “The deal has given us the headroom we need to move forward.”

Our culture and values are also evident each month in Business Up Close and on our various social media channels, including LinkedIn and YouTube. From the Santander Social Enterprise Development Awards to involvement in the awareness-raising of the Lending Appeals scheme, we are passionate about giving something back. Underneath this, though, is an equally passionate drive to getting the basics right and delivering what we hope is an excellent customer experience each and every day.

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