Matias Núñez Castro is Executive Director for SMEs at Santander Mexico, having previously worked as regional director for SME Business. In 2016, Euromoney named Santander best bank in the world for small and medium-sized enterprises. According to the magazine, its strategy goes beyond lending, to address critical obstacles for SME growth.
We recently met with Matias Núñez at the SME Finance Forum in Berlin to ask about the key initiatives in SME Banking, and the strategic priorities serving them.
1. What does innovation mean for you?
Innovation in its truest sense means constantly striving to do business better for your customers, creating more efficiency-driven services and ultimately trying to achieve better prices for users. Customer-centricity is the core of innovation.
2. What are the key digital banking/business finance needs for SMEs?
SMEs need a better digital footprint, and in this way we as banks can also gain better information about them. Secondly, they require more tax transparency so that banks can provide better lending opportunities. Thirdly, they need to break the barriers for growth - corporate information management, better processes and credit scoring to grow and scale.
3. What are the key initiatives at Santander Bank to help SMEs grow?
We are constantly teaching them about best practises and how to find synergies; we help them match up with our other international customers. For example a wine seller in Argentina who wants to find importers in Mexico could use our platforms to do that very easily.
4. What are your strategic priorities for next year?
One of the key priorities is trying to get more information about our customers to simplify their journey (invoice information) so we can build better information models. The second priority is providing specialized strategic advice to SMEs, and thirdly digitizing the customer journey and everyday customer operations.
5.What would be your recommendation for banks to deliver better financial services to SMEs?
Banks have a huge opportunity to prosper in SME Banking, banks have access to a gold mine of information that they can leverage, but first and foremost they need to be prepared to spend or invest their money to learn about creating new financial services for SMEs. Secondly, banks shouldn’t be afraid of partnerships - it will be one of the key drivers of success in the future.