Santander responds to Calviño: “Bank salaries are the most regulated”

They do not close the door to new job adjustments and point out that they will adapt to the needs of their clients within the framework of digital transformation.

José Antonio Álvarez, CEO of Santander, at the Finance Observatory organized by EL ESPAÑOL.

Jose Antonio Alvarez, CEO of Santander, has defended the salaries of the sector in the face of the criticism that several government ministers have made in recent days, especially the economic vice president, Nadia Calvin.

“The banking remuneration scheme It is the most regulated of those I know“, he pointed out during the presentation of the entity’s results, in which he recalled that there is european regulation which sets certain standards for deferred remuneration, which are usually paid in the form of shares, with the aim that bankers do not take excessive risks that move the price of the share price.

In addition, it has stated that all remuneration is subject to the approval of the boards of directors and the shareholders’ meetings. “It is a highly regulated scheme and there is a governance strong between the entities”, he pointed out.

“Disadvantage” in other markets

However, Álvarez has also explained that, given that Santander managers are subject to European regulation, they suffer a “disadvantage” in certain markets where the bank is present, where its competitors do not have to restrict their salaries, such as in Brazil. Likewise, he highlighted that fintechs do not have these restrictions, but rather “more flexibility”.

“In the end, they end up being established by the governing bodies and they also depend on how the industry evolves,” he added.

The CEO of Santander thus responds to criticism from various Ministries about bankers’ salaries, which they consider “unacceptable” and “high”, especially taking into account the strong employment adjustments that are taking place at the moment. Santander closed one last December and CaixaBank and BBVA are in the middle of negotiating theirs.

Asked if they grant credibility to the messages from the Government about its intention to regulate bankers’ salaries, Álvarez has limited himself to pointing out that the bank “always gives credibility” to the Executive. However, he has defended that during the pandemic the bank “has done a great job”.


Regarding the possibility of carrying out new Employment Regulation Files (ERE) after the three that the bank has launched in the last four years, Álvarez explained that “the transformation [digital] it is there”, so the bank will adapt to the customer.

“It is a transformation process where we try to have a banking and distribution model in accordance with customer demands,” Álvarez pointed out, in whose opinion “the transactional nature of branches continues to fall sharply”.


In another order of things, he explained that the visibility on the evolution of delinquency is still “poor”, especially in relation to the self-employed, micro-enterprises and SMEs.

In any case, he believes that the evolution of defaults is “correlated with the intensity of the recovery”. “How much will it rise? will depend on the recovery and its sustainability over time, because there will be a clear rebound when the confinement disappears”, he added.