The Rise of Santander

The once-regional Spanish bank has shot to the front ranks of Europe's finance industry through traditional lending and savvy acquisitions
Emilio Botin, Chairman of Spanish banking group Banco Santander speaks at a conference in Madrid PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images

As financial institutions worldwide struggle to stay afloat, Banco Santander (STD)—now the euro zone's largest bank by market value—is emerging as one of the few winners in the global economic crisis. With no exposure to toxic U.S. subprime assets, a diversified business spread across Europe and the Americas, and an estimated $68 billion in capital reserves, the bank, founded in the port of Santander on Spain's northern coast, is sailing past troubled rivals.

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