The funds are being used to purchase the most urgently required medical equipment such as ventilators, masks and other vital medical supplies, and also in supporting research through collaboration with universities and other bodies.
The Together Solidarity Fund, which was set up by the Group on 23 March with €25 million, has now reached €54 million thanks to donations from the Group subsidiaries, employees across all the countries in which it operates and contributions from third parties.
Madrid, 27 April 2020 - PRESS RELEASE
Santander is mobilising €100 million worldwide to fund initiatives to combat the coronavirus. The funds are being used throughout Santander’s home markets to buy medical equipment and support research into the virus through collaboration with universities and other bodies.
In March, Santander announced the creation of a €25 million solidarity fund, financed initially by the decision of the Executive Chairman, Ana Botin, and CEO, Jose Antonio Alvarez, to forgo 50% of their total compensation (salary and bonus) this year; a 20% cut of the non-executive directors, and voluntary contributions by employees. The fund has been increased to €54 million with additional contribution from across the countries in which the Group operates, funded by voluntary employee donations and third parties, and further funds from Group subsidiaries.
Santander Executive Chairman, Ana Botín said: “Santander is committed to being part of the solution to this unprecedented health and resulting economic emergency. Our priority is the health of our employees whilst providing business continuity and financial support for customers. We are also doing everything possible to support hospitals and healthcare personnel, as well as the various organisations and foundations that are working together to fight against the coronavirus. We are continuing to make our international network and global purchasing capacity available to health authorities to help manage relationships with suppliers and distributors so that the required equipment and supplies can reach the people and places that need it most.”
Santander has also mobilised a further €46 million by diverting funds earmarked for other projects to initiatives aimed at combatting the coronavirus and protect those vulnerable groups most affected by the disease in several countries. For example, around two thirds of those funds have been allocated to initiatives being carried out by universities and research centres in a number of areas and countries, with special attention to the most vulnerable students, and research into vaccines, pharmaceuticals and diagnostics.
The bank continues to focus its activities on countering the effects of the pandemic with specific initiatives to protect the health of its employees, assist customers by providing liquidity for companies and other financial support, including mortgage and rent moratoriums, loan payment deferrals for SMEs and individuals, insurance cover for covid-19 and healthcare staff, suspension of some commissions, and extensions to credit card limits, among others.
In Spain, Santander has now donated 4.1 million masks to the government, the armed forces and the police, several hospitals all over Spain, and also in Cantabria and Boadilla del Monte, the bank's main headquarters. It has also donated 500 non-invasive ventilators nationwide, 2,000 blankets for Madrid's Hospital de la Paz, disinfection tools in residence for the elderly in Madrid and 2,000 beds, blankets and ventilators for the IFEMA temporary hospital. Other initiatives are also ongoing alongside researchers, businesses and several NGOs, such as the purchase of 500,000 litres of water for hospitals or support for projects to redirect production capacity to manufacture masks. Santander has also collected €2 million from customers and third parties through initiatives launched by the bank, such as the Santander Fest League, which have already been used to buy another 115 ventilators and 400,000 masks.
In Portugal Santander is involved with a number of initiatives alongside the National Association of banks, the Association of Businesses and the Portuguese football league campaign “United for Portugal”, to help the country's authorities fight the illness, by donating medical resources such as ventilators and masks. In Poland, Santander has made a donation of PLN 2 million (€0.44 million) to the hospitals with the urgent needs and, together with customers and staff, it has collected over PLN 3 million more for ventilators, protective suits, masks and other medical equipments, while in the United Kingdom, Santander UK has made donations to the Alzheimer’s Society and Age UK to assist the groups most vulnerable to this pandemic.
Santander Brazil has entered into partnerships with the country's top private banks (Itaú and Bradesco) to buy five million rapid test kits, ventilators and other medical equipment, and have 15 million masks produced by local micro-entrepreneurs. Together, the three banks have invested around R$285 million in these initiatives.
Additionally, Santander Brazil joined the government's measures which allow for payroll financing for small- and medium-sized enterprises under special terms and conditions and 60-day deferrals of loan due dates. Santander's customers that are unable to pay some types of loans, such as personal credit, have their payment deadlines automatically extended.
Santander was also the first bank in Brazil to announce it would not be laying employees off during the critical period of this crisis, except in the event of just cause and breach of its Code of Ethics. Further, it stayed ahead of the market by announcing it was closing some of its branches in the cities with the highest number of covid-19 cases, and setting up alternative service hours for the elderly in branches with a higher number of pensioners.
In Chile: Santander is assisting with the Private Health Emergency Fund in Chile, in a bid to collect 50 billion Chilean pesos (c.€54 million), and has also made donations to the Techo Chile and Teletón foundations. And in Argentina the bank is working with a number of NGOs to donate healthcare equipment and assist the most vulnerable groups.
In Mexico, The bank has set up #ImStayingAtHome grants to build language skills and other skills to boost employability. And in the United States the bank has refocused its aid programme for NGOs providing essential services for the community.
Finally, Santander Consumer Finance has donated €380,000 in different European countries and China, and also 250 radios and 1,500 protection kits to several Spanish and Polish hospitals.
Santander has also launched “We will overcome this together”, an open space which is accessible to any person or company, regardless of whether or not they are customers of the bank, with information and resources to help address the situation created by the coronavirus. This resources centre is adapted to local needs with country-specific websites containing information from the official authorities and digital resources tailored to the point on the curve they have now reached. “Santander All. Together. Now.” (Santander Todos. Juntos. Ahora in Spanish) is the slogan for the Group's collective effort worldwide to be with those who need help most at this time.