Emilio Botin chairman of Santander Bank, the leading financial institution in Spain and among the top largest in the European Union said in Sao Paulo that Brazil is the “number one country in Latin America” and the absolute preference of his institution.
“We are going to invest with more branches, expand credit and investment instruments because Brazil for us is number one and absolute preference” said Botin addressing financial reporters following a ceremony where the bank awarded scholarships for bright Brazilians to continue their university studies overseas.
Botin admitted that the Spanish group does not discard takeovers or fusion with other institutions in Brazil as happened during the last decade when Santander acquired the State of Sao Paulo bank and Banco Real.
“If there are opportunities we will study all of them”, said Botin during the ceremony emphasizing that Brazil is “a vanguard of all cultural and research issues” and praised President Dilma Rousseff for launching the program “Science without borders” which sponsors the exchange of students with leading universities.
“In a global model, international mobility is one of the great challenges and it has great potential to have students return with experiences in different educational systems” said Botin who underlined that the scholarships’ program “Formula Santander” that operates in Brazil, Spain and Britain had 10.700 Brazilian university students’ contenders for the program.
“Each of the scholarships with 5.000 Euros which includes the air fares, lodging, food, personal expenses for a semester in any of the 1.032 institutions from the Santander Universidades network. So far since the program started, 900 scholarships have been awarded in the three countries where the program works.
“We have many projects and every year we are involved in new undertakings and that is why we have created the cultural event ‘Year 14’ which is basically a conference of university Deans in Brazil which is planned to attract 1.300 deans, and could very well turn out to be a ‘Guinness record’” affirmed Botin.
The event which is being coordinated with Rio do Janeiro’s governor Eduardo Paes is planned to take place after the 2014 World Cup to be played in June/July 2014.