SANTANDER is considering creating incubator space in its new city centre corporate banking office.
Ana Botín, Santander UK chief executive, suggested opening up space for some of Liverpool’s most promising new ventures after unveiling the bank’s new city centre offices in St Paul’s Square.
She said the incubator option is a sensible solution to filling floorspace on the seventh floor luxury suite that had been earmarked for former Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) staff.
Santander had agreed to buy the 316-strong RBS branch network, but pulled out of the deal in October, claiming delays in integrating the businesses had made the acquisition unworkable. Ms Botín said in an exclusive interview with The Post: “We could use some space in Liverpool for incubation. We were preparing for RBS to come here, which is why we have the space.”
She said offering incubator facilities for small start-ups would not only take up the slack following the collapse of the RBS deal, but also dovetail perfectly with Sandander’s strategy of becoming the UK’s bank of choice for SMEs (small- and medium-sized enterprises).
She told guests and clients at the office opening: “We want to be part of this region. SMEs are very much in our DNA and we know we will only grow if you do.”
Santander opened its first corporate banking office in the city in Old Hall Street’s The Plaza building.
But it has now relocated to 4 St Paul’s Square where its 14,000 sq ft requirement was one of the biggest commercial property deals to be completed in Liverpool during 2012.
Ms Botín said Santander is impressed by the potential in Liverpool: “We are very excited and think Liverpool is a very dynamic place and has transformed itself in the last few years.”