Banco Santander has implemented a range of measures to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus in Uruguay, including zero-rate credit lines for some medical centres, the creation of the Together Solidarity Fund with contributions from all of its employees, and the provision of transport for healthcare staff. 

16 April 2020.- In an effort to deal with various situations caused by the covid-19 global pandemic, Banco Santander is running a series of initiatives to provide solutions for its customers, public workers and the community at large. 

The current high demand for medical services prompted Banco Santander to seek appropriate solutions to address the healthcare emergency, implementing a zero-rate credit line (i.e. interest-free facility) for a group of medical institutions and several of the country's domestic mutual healthcare providers. The goal and scope of this credit line will be to purchase items and supplies required to fight the coronavirus. 

Country Head of Santander Uruguay, Gustavo Trelles, explained that USD 15 million will be earmarked for interest-free credit, with terms varying in accordance with the healthcare provider. The aim is to ensure that neither liquidity nor cash flow hinder the purchase of supplies required to overcome this adverse scenario. 

Banco Santander will also provide night-time transport for mutual healthcare workers in Montevideo to go to their places of work, aiding logistics and helping reduce contact in crowded spaces. The initiative will also help with the logistics of SMI house calls for the flu vaccination campaign. 

Elsewhere, within the framework of Santander Universities agreement with the Technological University of Uruguay (UTEC), the bank allocated part of its annual contribution to the manufacture of 10,000 protective masks for State Health Services Administration (ASSE) staff throughout the country. 

“As the country’s leading private bank, we are committed to initiatives that will mitigate the potential impact of this pandemic and we are implementing various contingency plans. This situation requires all sectors to join forces and Santander is seeking solutions daily to help the community deal with this emergency,” said Trelles.

In addition to these initiatives, the members of the management committee and senior executives of Banco Santander in Uruguay made a personal donation to kick off the Together Solidarity Fund, to which voluntary contributions from the bank's employees will be added. These contributions are already being used to cover immediate needs, such as the production and purchase of medical equipment, protective clothing and other supplies required for treating patients infected with the virus, and they are also going toward donations to the pertinent authorities and institutions. The fund will be audited by the consultancy firm PwC.

The Together Solidarity Fund is being replicated in the countries where Santander has a presence and is supplemented by the website, which provides news and digital resources to help individuals and companies to overcome the coronavirus crisis, whether they are customers or not. It includes a "Living at home" section which features entertainment options and resources for the family (cooking, reading and virtual museum visits) and teleworking (recommendations, collaborative tools), as well as tips for exercising at home and links to meditation and relaxation apps and professional health services.  

This action is aligned with the position that the Santander authorities have taken around the world, following the example of the Group executive chairman, Ana Botín, and its CEO, José Antonio Alvarez, who made the decision to contribute 50% of their salary to the fight against covid-19, and to not distribute dividends in 2019 and 2020, freeing up EUR 90,000 million in additional credit around the world. 

About Santander
Santander Uruguay began operations in 1982. Characterised by developing a universal banking model through all channels, the institution has established itself as the main private bank in the country. Currently, it has a market share of around 30% in private banking. It serves more than 350,000 active customers and has a leading role in the card market, offering additional benefits in more than two hundred brands. The institution has more than 40 customer service centres throughout the country.