Access to decent housing is a fundamental human right. Unfortunately, this principle is not always fulfilled. Therefore, both governments and businesses launch initiatives to aid those who cannot buy or pay for their houses. And one of these enterprises is Banco Santander, which was the first big financial entity to adhere to the code of good banking practices in March 2012.

According to the Article 47 of the Spanish Constitution: “All Spaniards are entitled to enjoy decent and adequate housing. The public authorities shall promote the necessary conditions and shall establish appropriate standards in order to make this right effective, regulating land use in accordance with the general interest in order to prevent speculation. The community shall participate in benefits accruing from the urban policies of the public bodies”. This Article is logically included in Title 1, which talks about the Fundamental Freedoms and Rights.

Unfortunately, we are totally aware that this Article of the Spanish Magna Carta is absolutely not fulfilled. During the unstable period of the “Spanish Transition”, the self-righteous legislator of the Constitution was not able to turn this Article into reality and then, it was included in the collection of good wishes

Many times, the good news about the procurement of a home too quickly becomes an economic burden practically impossible to cope with. Such was the case when the terrible economic crisis hit Spain in 2008 and consequently thousands of people couldn’t meet the mortgage payments to keep an adequate roof over their heads.

Guaranteeing access to decent and adequate housing

As a way of commitment to prosper of people and communities, Banco Santander has defined 10 goals of responsible banking until 2025. This way, bearing in mind its politics of inclusive growing and the goal of offering solutions to the customer requirements, Banco Santander has helped more than 140,000 families with financial problems to continue meeting housing payments. Such support started in 2011 and it has been carried out through different models: more than 134,100 refinancing and restructuring operations for 112,300 families and 21,800 enterprises, in one case. Nonrecourse debts for 13,760 families, on the other hand. And finally, suspension of eviction notices for 9,362 families. Fortunately, there has been no court-ordered eviction based on a mortgage debt with Banco Santander since November 2012.

1000 houses for the Social Fund promoted by the State

In addition, Banco Santander has contributed 1,000 houses for el Fondo Social de la Vivienda (FSV) (Social Housing Fund), from which 963 are rental homes, to facilitate the access to housing.On the other hand, Banco Santander has another 568 social rental homes with more affordable conditions for families in vulnerable situations.

The FSV is a public initiative in effect since 2012 that strengthens the protection of mortgagors by offering housing, property of the credit entities, to those people who lose their habitual residence as a consequence of the default of the mortgage loans (in case of eviction or not) or as a consequence of the nonrecourse debt. It affects people at special social vulnerability.

This way, the State currently manages almost 10,000 houses and more than 4,000 families have benefited from this program. Social renting is around 150-400 per month, with a maximum limit of 30% of the net income of the family unit.

This Social Housing Fund was extended earlier this year by the Government, and it will be in effect at least up to January 2020. This extension was arranged by the Ministry of Economy and Business with the Ministries of Public Works and Transport, Health, Consumption and Social Welfare, as well as the Spanish Banking Association, the Spanish Mortgage Association, The Bank of Spain, the Spanish Confederation of Saving Banks, the Platform of the Third Sector and the National Union of Credit Cooperatives.

The commitment of Banco Santander to those families with clear difficulties in meeting housing payments has been evident from the moment that it became the first big financial entity to adhere to the code of good banking practices in March 2012.