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Santander to Launch Openbank Digital Bank in US, Mexico

Santander will launch its digital bank, Openbank, in the United States and Mexico in the second half of 2024.

Currently, Openbank serves 2 million customers in four European countries — Spain, Portugal, Germany and the Netherlands — and has 18 billion euros (about $19.5 billion) in deposits, the bank said in a Tuesday (April 9) press release.

“Openbank is the largest digital bank in Europe by deposits with among the highest customer loyalty and satisfaction,” Ana Botín, executive chair at Banco Santander, said in the release. “We remain committed to growing our business in the United States, the largest financial services market in the world, leveraging our proprietary technology and global expertise to deliver a winning customer experience.”

Banco Santander operates in 10 core markets in Europe, North America and South America and is one of the largest banks in the world by market capitalization, according to the release.

Openbank’s technological platform was designed in-house at Santander and provides security and ease of use, the release. It provides “FinTech pricing and the trust of a global bank,” per the release.

With Openbank’s rollout in the U.S. market, Santander will combine all its core, proprietary technology into a cloud-based banking platform and will generate deposits to fund the auto franchise of Santander US, according to the release.

Matias Nuñez, the head of digital and innovation at Santander Mexicotold Reuters in January that Openbank would launch in Mexico this year. 

The digital bank service is launching at a time when traditional banks in Mexico are trying to catch up with the rapid growth of digital banks, according to the Reuters report.

In the U.S., Santander cut 320 jobs — a little under 3% of its American staff — with the cuts focused on its retail banking business as it continues to embrace digital banking, Bloomberg reported March 3.

Reached for comment by PYMNTS at the time, Santander offered a statement that noted that it is evolving its business in the U.S. and investing in digital capabilities and “simplified processes.”

“These steps have resulted in an update to our staffing model that impacts a small percentage of our branch colleagues,” Santander said in the statement.