Case | HBS Case Collection | September 2010 (Revised December 2010)

Santander Consumer Finance

by J. Gunnar Trumbull, Elena Corsi and Andrew Barron


A Spanish company has to decide if they should expand into the fragmented European consumer finance market and has to make important organizational strategy decisions in the midst of the world economic downturn that followed the 2007 U.S. credit crunch. Since 2002, the consumer finance branch of the Spanish banking Grupo Santander, Santander Consumer Finance (SCF), had grown into one of the largest European consumer finance companies capturing the recent growth in Europe of the consumer finance market. Against a background of growing concern about the sustainability of household debt levels in Europe and the United States, in 2008 the new CEO, Magda Salarich Fernández de Valderrama, had to decide if this was the right time to expand or, if instead, she should focus on consolidation. She was also facing important organizational strategy decisions. Which functions should be left to national affiliates to decide, and which should be centralized at headquarters? What processes should be standardized, and which left to local initiatives?

Keywords: Borrowing and Debt; Financial Markets; International Finance; Personal Finance; Consolidation; Corporate Strategy; Expansion; Financial Services Industry; European Union; Spain;


Trumbull, J. Gunnar, Elena Corsi, and Andrew Barron. "Santander Consumer Finance." Harvard Business School Case 711-015, September 2010. (Revised December 2010.)