41 (136) 2019
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Finance & related services

Finance in the Brexit era – services for corporate clients of the Santander Group across Poland and the UK

By Tomasz Bieliński, Poland - UK corridor manager, Santander Bank Polska SA
Header tomasz bielinski


The Santander Group offers immense potential for enterprises and corporations on the lookout for international business opportunities.

We want to share our experience and know-how with our clients. To this end we have developed a programme for our clients who intend to expand business operations abroad.

Being part of the Santander Group, we can offer our clients access to new markets, supporting them in the expansion of their business on an international scale in every single country in which the group operates. Our support includes: opening bank accounts, financing subsidiaries, issuing guarantees and many other services. We also offer assistance in accessing business information and contacting legal firms and accountants that cooperate with us.

International business is of key importance to us. Since last year we have intensified our efforts in those business corridors which are most significant to the Polish economy and most strategic to Santander Bank Polska. These include Germany, Spain, Portugal, Latin America, the UK and the US. Between 2012 and 2018 foreign companies have invested over €60 billion in Poland, with companies from Germany, Spain and the UK topping the list of foreign investors in Poland.

A dedicated manager with extensive market knowledge and experience is responsible for developing each corridor. Their role is also to develop cooperation and business in the corridor through new client acquisition and the support offered to bankers in developing relationships with existing clients.

Santander’s International Banking Office acquires new clients and coordinates relationships with international Business and Corporate Banking clients of Santander Bank Polska and Santander Group.

Santander is the only bank with an extensive retail network of branches across Poland and the UK, which gives is a specific edge in the Poland-UK corridor.

The International Banking Office is also responsible for cooperation with its equivalents in all the other countries where Santander is present, in particular in Spain, Portugal, the UK, and the US. We have similar offices also in Mexico, Brazil, Columbia, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Chile, Uruguay and in Germany.  In Poland, we cooperate with foreign chambers of commerce, embassies, and many investment support organisations.

The International Banking Office assists:

international clients in

  • initial formalities related to opening bank accounts by referring clients to appropriate segments, in document execution coordination at Group branches across the EU

  • obtaining funding and using credit lines of the parent company in other countries where the Group operates

Polish clients

  • opening bank accounts abroad and in their first contact with a foreign branch of the bank,

  • obtaining information about a given country, its business opportunities, recommended business partners (law firms, advisors, etc.) from the local International Banking Office,

  • obtaining capital abroad by using credit lines in Santander Bank Polska abroad,

  • arranging teleconferences/meetings with the bank in the countries of interest to the clients and potential clients of Santander Bank Polska.

The UK and Poland: new business opportunities

In recent years, the UK has consistently been one of the top three export destinations for Polish goods. Yet there are still areas where UK-Polish business relations could and should be developed. This applies equally to both import and export.

The UK is Poland’s third biggest recipient for export goods, after Germany and Czechia. According to GUS, Poland’s central statistical office, the British share in the total of Polish exports amounted to 6.2% last year. Food is commonly considered Poland’s main export to the UK, however the automotive sector is actually number one, with cars and car parts outselling food and drink. Furniture and interior fittings (mattresses, cushions, bed linen and pillows), construction materials, windows and doors, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics make up much of the rest, along with precious metals (either as ingots or processed as jewellery). Around 80% of products sold in IKEA stores throughout the UK are sourced from Poland. Poland is ranked ninth as the UK’s largest export destination among the EU countries, according to HMRC data for 2018.

The Santander UK/Poland Corridor - how it operates in practice

In recent months, we have become involved in building a robust ecosystem of business partners willing to cooperate in helping British companies who wish to start business in Poland, as well as Polish companies which plan either to establish or expand their presence in the UK. Without close cooperation with DIT, BPCC, and trade associations (such as the UK’s SMMT), the results of our activity would be less impressive.

A perfect example of such cooperation was the trade mission of British automotive industry representatives to Poland in October. The visit was organised with active support from the above-mentioned organisations and Santander UK. This sector was not chosen at random – the Strategic Sectors Departments at Santander UK and Santander Bank Polska have been gathering expertise and information on selected industries for years. This year we have focused on the automotive, aviation, rail, and food industries, which resulted in a number of joint initiatives, events, trade missions and business meetings attended by representatives of companies from both countries.  Next year, we will continue joint activities, based on best business practices, as well as feedback from our clients, which reflects their business development needs.

Santander UK has prepared its Fast-Track for Polish companies wanting to start their operations in the UK. It is a special credit offer, enabling quick and easy access to financing, based on analysis of the parent company’s results in Poland and on the recommendation of Santander Bank Polska.

We are the only bank in the EU to provide instant international real-time transfers to the UK, based on blockchain technology, with a maximum transaction amount of £20,000. This service is known as One Pay FX. It is a convenient solution for most companies settling transactions between the two countries.  We also act as a clearing bank for such payments for all UK-based banks, and in the nearest future we are planning to develop the service further by increasing the amount and introducing other currencies, such as the euro and zloty.

I am looking forward to cooperating with you – let’s bring our talents together!

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