The magazine has chosen Santander thanks to the bank’s home-grown digital cloud-native core banking platform, Gravity, which is being implemented worldwide. The platform will boost customer experience when banking with Santander, while bringing significant efficiencies through cutting-edge end-to-end automation.

The Gravity technology is unique in the industry and has helped Santander become the first major bank in the world with in-house software that digitalizes core banking – allowing the bank to serve customer better and more efficiently.

In October 2022, Google Cloud announced that it would be commercializing a service to help other companies transition from mainframe to cloud called Dual Run, which was developed on top of Santander’s Gravity software.

Madrid, 1 September 2023.
Santander has been named the Most Innovative Bank in the world by The Banker. The magazine has given the bank its highest recognition at their Innovation in Digital Banking Awards because of the bank’s successful deployment of Gravity - the bank’s home-grown digital cloud-native core banking platform, which is being implemented worldwide to help the bank become a fully digital company. The Banker describes Gravity as a “massive and ambitious project”.

Ana Botín on Santander’s journey investing in technology and innovation
Ana Botín on Santander’s journey investing in technology and innovation

Santander is the first major bank in the world with in-house software that digitalizes core banking, which is the most critical part of a bank’s IT infrastructure and where the main financial transactions, such as money transfers, deposits or loans are processed, and has already migrated more than 90% of its IT infrastructure to the cloud. This transformation is allowing easier and faster access to data, more simplicity and faster time-to-market, making it possible to deliver new capabilities for customers in hours, instead of days or weeks, and more frequent app updates. It also helps the bank improve greatly its customer experience, products and services, and drive value using real-time analytics.

This change will also bring significant efficiencies through cutting-edge end-to-end automation and other savings.

Innovation is at the heart of our transformation, helping us serve customers better while delivering profitable growth and value creation. Gravity, and many other examples across the group, are testament to this. World-class innovation is only possible with top talent, so huge congratulations to all the Santander Group colleagues building these global solutions as a team. We are extremely grateful to the Banker magazine for this recognition.

Ana Botín, Banco Santander executive chair

Santander’s core banking digital journey started in 2022 and will be completed between the end of 2024 and the first half of 2025. The transition has already been completed successfully in several businesses in UK and Chile without any service interruption, and is also well advanced in Brazil. At the completion of the programme, more than 1 trillion technical executions will be managed every year by the Gravity platform within Santander’s systems.

Gravity allows parallel processing, meaning the bank can simultaneously run workloads on its existing core banking mainframe and on the cloud, allowing it to perform real-time testing with no disruption to its businesses. Once satisfied with the stability and performance, the bank can then transition from the mainframe system to the cloud. In October 2022, Google Cloud announced that it would be  commercializing a service to help other companies transition from mainframe to cloud called Dual Run, which was developed on top of Santander’s Gravity software.

Communications director Ovidio Cordero asks Global CIO David Chaos to turn teacher and give us a master class about major changes in banking technology in recent years
Communications director Ovidio Cordero asks Global CIO David Chaos to turn teacher and give us a master class about major changes in banking technology in recent years

Santander’s successful cloud-native core banking platform is built upon world-class capabilities thanks to the knowledge transfer of a large team of IT professionals, some of whom created the legacy system 20 years ago and are now moving it to the cloud, as well as young developers and engineers. This gives Santander’s 16,500 software developers and engineers a modern, high-performing environment to create customer-centric applications and increase the bank’s ability to attract top talent. Santander has also reduced the bank’s energy consumption from its IT infrastructure by 70%, contributing to its responsible banking targets.

As part of Santander’s innovation initiatives, the bank is also in the middle of a transformation to bring its 164 million customers onto a common operating model supported by a cutting-edge technology platform. This project, named One Transformation, is based on proven group operating models and proprietary technology like Gravity. For example, Santander Portugal has taken most of its operational activities out of its branches, freeing up branch employees so that they can spend more time supporting customers and on commercial activities, and Openbank has implemented process automation and made every product available digitally end to end, with simple products. The bank is now implementing One Transformation in the US, Spain and Mexico.

The Banker magazine, part of the Financial Times, was founded in 1926. The Innovation in Digital Banking Awards recognize the work being done by banks all over the world to innovate in any part of the business, and reorganize and upgrade their internal procedures and cultures.