Spain’s Santander will strive to
match its 2008 financial performance despite the headwinds which
continue to face the bank in 2009, chairman Emilio Botín said at
the bank’s annual general meeting in June.

Botin said that Santander’s diversified,
retail-focused business model would again stand it in good stead in
the coming year, citing the bank’s “strong local presence in nine
or 10 main markets” as justification for Santander’s continued
expansion in 2008, when it purchased Alliance & Leicester and
part of Bradford & Bingley in the UK, Sovereign in the US and
GE’s consumer finance business in Germany.

The bank’s integration of an earlier
acquisition, Banco Real in Brazil, is “exceeding expectations” due
to the Brazilian economy’s relative outperformance of its
international peers, Botin noted.

Prospects for further acquisitions were low,
however, with Botin adding that Santander had “absolutely no need”
for more purchases in order to reach its future earnings

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