Company Quick10K Filing
Banco Santander Chile
Closing Price ($) Shares Out (MM) Market Cap ($MM)
$0.00 188,446 $5,576,121
20-F 2019-03-22 Annual: 2018-12-31
20-F 2018-03-28 Annual: 2017-12-31
20-F 2017-03-24 Annual: 2016-12-31
20-F 2016-05-02 Annual: 2015-12-31
20-F 2015-05-14 Annual: 2014-12-31
20-F 2014-04-30 Annual: 2013-12-31
20-F 2013-04-30 Annual: 2012-12-31
20-F 2012-04-30 Annual: 2011-12-31
20-F 2011-06-30 Annual: 2010-12-31
20-F 2010-06-30 Annual: 2009-12-31
BSAC 2018-12-31
Part I
Item 1. Identity of Directors, Senior Management and Advisers
Item 2. Offer Statistics and Expected Timetable
Item 3. Key Information
Item 4. Information on The Company
Item 4A. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects
Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees
Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions
Item 8. Financial Information
Item 9. The Offer and Listing
Item 10. Additional Information
Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
Item 12. Description of Securities Other Than Equity Securities
Part II
Item 13. Defaults, Dividend Arrearages and Delinquencies
Item 14. Material Modifications To The Rights of Security Holders and Use of Proceeds
Item 15. Controls and Procedures
Item 16. [Reserved]
Item 16A. Audit Committee Financial Expert
Item 16B. Code of Ethics
Item 16C. Principal Accountant Fees and Services
Item 16D. Exemptions From The Listing Standards for Audit Committees
Item 16E. Purchases of Equity Securities By The Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers
Item 16F. Change in Registrant's Certifying Accountant
Item 16G. Corporate Governance
Item 16H. Mine Safety Disclosure
Part III
Item 17. Financial Statements
Item 18. Financial Statements
Item 19. Exhibits
Note 01
Note 02
Note 03
Note 04
Note 05
Note 06
Note 07
Note 08
Note 09
Note 10
Note 11
Note 12
Note 13
Note 14
Note 15
Note 16
Note 17
Note 18
Note 19
Note 20
Note 21
Note 22
Note 23
Note 24
Note 25
Note 26
Note 27
Note 28
Note 29
Note 30
Note 31
Note 32
Note 33
Note 34
Note 35
Note 36
Note 37
Note 38
Note 39
Note 40
EX-8.1 s116771_ex8-1.htm
EX-12.1 s116771_ex12-1.htm
EX-12.2 s116771_ex12-2.htm
EX-12.3 s116771_ex12-3.htm
EX-13.1 s116771_ex13-1.htm

Banco Santander Chile Earnings 2018-12-31

BSAC 20F Annual Report

Balance SheetIncome StatementCash Flow

Comparables ($MM TTM)
Ticker M Cap Assets Liab Rev G Profit Net Inc EBITDA EV G Margin EV/EBITDA ROA
BSAC 5,576,121 39,132,512 35,887,052 0 0 0 0 4,751,258 0%
BCH 2,904,241 35,617,447 31,943,731 0 0 0 0 2,024,160 0%
HDB 311,029 13,280,074 11,644,449 0 0 0 0 637,843 0%
LYG 182,520 797,598 747,399 0 0 0 0 182,520 0%
BCS 124,858 1,133,283 1,069,504 0 0 0 0 124,858 0%
SAN 70,142 1,459,271 1,351,910 0 0 0 0 70,142 0%
MUFG 69,022 305,228,899 289,244,151 0 0 0 0 -46,517,503 0%
ING 41,369 884,603 834,751 0 0 0 0 41,369 0%
BBVA 35,140 676,689 623,814 0 0 0 0 35,140 0%
BAP 20,734 177,263 152,997 0 0 0 0 -1,435 0%

20-F 1 s116771_20f.htm 20-F

 

 

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

FORM 20-F

 

(Mark One)

 

REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

OR

 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018

OR

 

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

Commission file number: 1-14554

 

BANCO SANTANDER-CHILE
(d/b/a Santander and Banco Santander)
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

 

SANTANDER-CHILE BANK
(d/b/a Santander and Banco Santander)
(Translation of Registrant’s name into English)

 

Chile
(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

 

Bandera 140, 20th floor
Santiago, Chile
Telephone: 011-562-320-2000
(Address of principal executive offices)

Robert Moreno Heimlich 

Tel: 562-2320-8284, Fax: 562-696-1679, email: robert.moreno@santander.cl

Bandera 140, 20th Floor, Santiago, Chile

 

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class  Name of each exchange on which registered
American Depositary Shares (“ADS”), each representing the right to receive 400 Shares of Common Stock without par value  New York Stock Exchange
Shares of Common Stock, without par value*  New York Stock Exchange

 

 

*Santander-Chile’s shares of common stock are not listed for trading, but only in connection with the registration of the American Depositary Shares pursuant to the requirements of the New York Stock Exchange.

 

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

 

None
(Title of Class)

 

Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act:

 

None
(Title of Class)

 

The number of outstanding shares of each class of common stock of Banco Santander-Chile at December 31, 2018, was:

 

188,446,126,794 Shares of Common Stock, without par value

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.

 

Yes ☒      No

 

If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

 

Yes ☐      No

 

Note – Checking the box above will not relieve any registrant required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from their obligations under those Sections.

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.

 

Yes      No

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).

 

Yes      No

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or an emerging growth company. See definition of “accelerated filer,” “large accelerated filer” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

 

Large Accelerated Filer     Accelerated Filer    ☐ Non-accelerated Filer    ☐
    Emerging growth company ☐

  

If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  ☐

 

† The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.

 

Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:

 

 U.S. GAAP    International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board   Other

 

 

If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.

 

☐ Item 17      ☐ Item 18

 

If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).

 

Yes ☐      No

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

  Page
   
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT CONCERNING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS 2
CERTAIN TERMS AND CONVENTIONS 4
PRESENTATION OF FINANCIAL INFORMATION 4
PART I 7
ITEM 1. IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS 7
ITEM 2. OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE 7
ITEM 3. KEY INFORMATION 7
ITEM 4. INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY 41
ITEM 4A. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS 59
ITEM 5. OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS 60
ITEM 6. DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES 140
ITEM 7. MAJOR SHAREHOLDERS AND RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS 152
ITEM 8. FINANCIAL INFORMATION 154
ITEM 9. THE OFFER AND LISTING 155
ITEM 10. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION 155
ITEM 11. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK 173
ITEM 12. DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES OTHER THAN EQUITY SECURITIES 192
PART II 195
ITEM 13. DEFAULTS, DIVIDEND ARREARAGES AND DELINQUENCIES 195
ITEM 14. MATERIAL MODIFICATIONS TO THE RIGHTS OF SECURITY HOLDERS AND USE OF PROCEEDS 195
ITEM 15. CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES 195
ITEM 16. [RESERVED] 197
ITEM 16A. AUDIT COMMITTEE FINANCIAL EXPERT 197
ITEM 16B. CODE OF ETHICS 197
ITEM 16C. PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEES AND SERVICES 197
ITEM 16D. EXEMPTIONS FROM THE LISTING STANDARDS FOR AUDIT COMMITTEES 198
ITEM 16E. PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES BY THE ISSUER AND AFFILIATED PURCHASERS 198
ITEM 16F. CHANGE IN REGISTRANT’S CERTIFYING ACCOUNTANT 198
ITEM 16G. CORPORATE GOVERNANCE 198
ITEM 16H. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURE 200
PART III 201
ITEM 17. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS 201
ITEM 18. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS 201
ITEM 19. EXHIBITS 201

 

 

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT CONCERNING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

We have made statements in this Annual Report on Form 20-F that constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements appear throughout this report and include statements regarding our intent, belief or current expectations regarding:

 

asset growth and alternative sources of funding;

 

growth of our fee-based business;

 

financing plans;

 

impact of competition;

 

impact of regulation;

 

exposure to market risks including:

 

interest rate risk;

 

foreign exchange risk; and

 

equity price risk;

 

projected capital expenditures;

 

liquidity;

 

trends affecting:

 

our financial condition; and

 

our results of operation.

 

The sections of this Annual Report which contain forward-looking statements include, without limitation, “Item 3. Key Information—Risk Factors,” “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Competition,” “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects,” “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal Proceedings,” and “Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk.” Our forward-looking statements also may be identified by words such as “believes,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “projects,” “intends,” “should,” “could,” “may,” “seeks,” “aim,” “combined,” “estimates,” “probability,” “risk,” “VaR,” “target,” “goal,” “objective,” “future” or similar expressions.

 

You should understand that the following important factors, in addition to those discussed elsewhere in this Annual Report and in the documents which are incorporated by reference, could affect our future results and could cause those results or other outcomes to differ materially from those expressed in our forward-looking statements:

 

changes in capital markets in general that may affect policies or attitudes towards lending to Chile or Chilean companies;

 

changes in economic conditions;

 

the monetary and interest rate policies of Central Bank (as defined below);

 

inflation;

 

deflation;

 

unemployment;

 

 2

 

 

increases in defaults by our customers and impairment losses;

 

decreases in deposits;

 

customer loss or revenue loss;

 

unanticipated turbulence in interest rates;

 

movements in foreign exchange rates;

 

movements in equity prices or other rates or prices;

 

the effects of non-linear market behavior that cannot be captured by linear statistical models, such as the VaR model we use;

 

changes in Chilean and foreign laws and regulations;

 

changes in taxes;

 

competition, changes in competition and pricing environments;

 

our inability to hedge certain risks economically;

 

the adequacy of loss allowances;

 

technological changes;

 

changes in consumer spending and saving habits;

 

changes in demographics, consumer spending, investment or saving habits;

 

increased costs;

 

unanticipated increases in financing and other costs or the inability to obtain additional debt or equity financing on attractive terms;

 

changes in, or failure to comply with, banking regulations;

 

acquisitions or restructurings of businesses that may not perform in accordance with our expectations;

 

our ability to successfully market and sell additional services to our existing customers;

 

disruptions in client service;

 

damage to our reputation;

 

natural disasters;

 

implementation of new technologies;

 

the Group’s exposure to operational losses (e.g., failed internal or external processes, people and systems); and

 

an inaccurate or ineffective client segmentation model.

 

You should not place undue reliance on such statements, which speak only as of the date at which they were made. The forward-looking statements contained in this report speak only as of the date of this Annual Report, and we do not undertake to update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

 

 3

 

 

CERTAIN TERMS AND CONVENTIONS

 

As used in this annual report (the “Annual Report”), “Santander-Chile”, “the Bank”, “we,” “our” and “us” or similar terms refer to Banco Santander-Chile together with its consolidated subsidiaries.

 

When we refer to “Santander Spain,” we refer to our parent company, Banco Santander, S.A.. References to “the Group,” “Santander Group” or “Grupo Santander” mean the worldwide operations of the Santander Spain conglomerate, as indirectly controlled by Santander Spain and its consolidated subsidiaries, including Santander-Chile.

 

As used in this Annual Report, the term “billion” means one thousand million (1,000,000,000).

 

In this Annual Report, references to “$”, “U.S.$”, “U.S. dollars” and “dollars” are to United States dollars; references to “Chilean pesos,” “pesos” or “Ch$” are to Chilean pesos; references to “JPY” or “JPY$” are to Japanese Yen; references to “AUD” or “AUD$” are to Australian dollars; references to “CHF” or “CHF$” are to Swiss francs; references to “CNY” or “CNY$” are to Chinese yuan renminbi; and references to “UF” are to Unidades de Fomento. The UF is an inflation-indexed Chilean monetary unit with a value in Chilean pesos that changes daily to reflect changes in the official Consumer Price Index (“CPI”) of the Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas (the Chilean National Institute of Statistics) for the previous month. See “Item 3. Key Information—A. Selected Financial Data—Exchange Rates” for information regarding exchange rates.

 

As used in this Annual Report, the terms “write-offs” and “charge-offs” are synonyms.

 

In this Annual Report, references to the Audit Committee are to the Bank’s Comité de Directores y Auditoría.

 

In this Annual Report, references to “BIS” are to the Bank for International Settlement, and references to “BIS ratio” are to the capital adequacy ratio as calculated in accordance with the Basel Capital Accord. References to the “Central Bank” are to the Banco Central de Chile. References to the “SBIF” are to the Superintendency of Banks and Financial Institutions. References to the “FMC” are to the Financial Market Commission, which is scheduled to merge with the SBIF on June 1, 2019.

 

PRESENTATION OF FINANCIAL INFORMATION

 

Santander-Chile is a Chilean bank and maintains its financial books and records in Chilean pesos and prepares its consolidated financial statements in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”) as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (“IASB”). Any reference to IFRS in this document is to IFRS as issued by the IASB.

 

As required by local regulations, our locally filed consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with the Compendium of Accounting Standards issued by the SBIF, the Chilean regulatory agency (“Chilean Bank GAAP”). Therefore, our locally filed consolidated financial statements have been adjusted to IFRS in order to comply with the requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). Chilean Bank GAAP principles are substantially similar to IFRS but there are some exceptions. For further details and a discussion of the main differences between Chilean Bank GAAP and IFRS, see “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—Accounting Standards Applied in 2018.”

 

This Annual Report contains our consolidated financial statements as of December 31, 2018 and 2017 and for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016 (the “Audited Consolidated Financial Statements”). Such Audited Consolidated Financial Statements have been prepared in accordance with IFRS as issued by the IASB, and have been audited by the independent registered public accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers Consultores Auditores SpA for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016. See page F-2 of the Audited Consolidated Financial Statements as of December 31, 2018 and 2017 and for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016 for the audit report issued by PricewaterhouseCoopers Consultores Auditores SpA. The Audited Consolidated Financial Statements have been prepared from accounting records maintained by the Bank and its subsidiaries.

 

The notes to the Audited Consolidated Financial Statements form an integral part of the Audited Consolidated Financial Statements and contain additional information and narrative descriptions or details of these financial statements.

 

 4

 

 

We have formatted our financial information according to the classification format for banks in Chile for purposes of IFRS. We have not reclassified the line items to comply with Article 9 of Regulation S-X. Article 9 is a regulation of the SEC that contains formatting requirements for bank holding company financial statements.

 

Functional and Presentation Currency

 

The Chilean peso is the currency of the primary economic environment in which the Bank operates and the currency that influences its structure of costs and revenues, and in accordance with International Accounting Standard 21 – The Effects of Changes in Foreign Exchange Rates has been defined as the functional and presentation currency. Accordingly, all balances and transactions denominated in currencies other than the Chilean peso are treated as “foreign currency.” See “Note 1—Summary of Significant Accounting Principles—e) Functional and presentation currency.” For presentation purposes, we have translated Chilean pesos (Ch$) into U.S. dollars (U.S.$) using the rate as indicated below under “Exchange Rates,” for the financial information included in this Annual Report.

 

Loans

 

Unless otherwise specified, all references herein (except in the Audited Consolidated Financial Statements) to loans are to loans and financial leases before deduction for loan loss allowance, and, except as otherwise specified, all market share data presented herein is based on information published periodically by the SBIF.

 

Outstanding loans and the related percentages of our loan portfolio consisting of corporate and consumer loans as defined in the section entitled “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview” are categorized based on the nature of the borrower. Outstanding loans and related percentages of our loan portfolio consisting of corporate and consumer loans in the section entitled “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—C. Selected Statistical Information” are categorized in accordance with the reporting requirements of the SBIF, which are based on the type and term of loans.

 

Non-performing loans are also presented in accordance with reporting requirements of the SBIF and include the entire principal amount and accrued but unpaid interest on loans for which either principal or interest is past-due for 90 days or more. Restructured loans for which no payments are past-due are not ordinarily classified as non-performing loans. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—C. Selected Statistical Information—Classification of Loan Portfolio Based on the Borrower’s Payment Performance.”

 

At the end of each reporting period the Bank evaluates the impairment of the loan book. For December 31, 2018 this has been assessed in accordance with IFRS 9 and for prior periods in accordance with IAS 39. See “Note 1—Summary of Significant Accounting Principles” in the Audited Consolidated Financial Statements.

 

Effect of Rounding

 

Certain figures included in this Annual Report and in the Audited Consolidated Financial Statements have been rounded up for ease of presentation. Percentage figures included in this Annual Report have not in all cases been calculated on the basis of such rounded figures but on the basis of such amounts prior to rounding. For this reason, certain percentage amounts in this Annual Report may vary from those obtained by performing the same calculations using the figures in the Audited Consolidated Financial Statements. Certain other amounts that appear in this Annual Report may not sum due to rounding.

 

Economic and Market Data

 

In this Annual Report, unless otherwise indicated, all macroeconomic data related to the Chilean economy is based on information published by the Central Bank, and all market share and other data related to the Chilean financial system is based on information published by the SBIF and our analysis of such information. Information regarding the consolidated risk index of the Chilean financial system as a whole is not available.

 

Exchange Rates

 

This Annual Report contains translations of certain Chilean peso amounts into U.S. dollars at specified rates solely for the convenience of the reader. These translations should not be construed as representations that the Chilean peso amounts actually represent such U.S. dollar amounts, were converted from U.S. dollars at the rate indicated in preparing the Audited Consolidated Financial Statements, could be converted into U.S. dollars at the rate indicated, were converted or will be converted at all.

 

 5

 

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all U.S. dollar amounts at any year end, for any period have been translated from Chilean pesos based on the interbank market rate published by Reuters at 1:30 pm on the last business day of the period. On December 31, 2018 and 2017, the exchange rate in the Informal Exchange Market as published by Reuters at 1:30 pm on these days was Ch$697.76 and Ch$616.85 respectively, or 0.3% more and 0.26% more, respectively, than the observed exchange rate published by the Central Bank for such date of Ch$695.69 and Ch$615.22, respectively, per U.S.$1.00. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York does not report a noon buying rate for the Chilean peso. For more information on the observed exchange rate, see “Item 3. Key Information—A. Selected Financial Data—Exchange Rates” of the Annual Report.

 

As of December 31, 2018 and 2017, one UF was equivalent to Ch$27,565.79 and Ch$26,798.14, respectively. The U.S. dollar equivalent of one UF was U.S.$39.62 as of December 31, 2018, using the observed exchange rate reported by the Central Bank as of December 30, 2018 of Ch$695.69 per U.S.$1.00.

 

 6

 

 

PART I

 

ITEM 1. IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

 

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 2. OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

 

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 3. KEY INFORMATION

 

A. Selected Financial Data

 

The following table presents selected historical financial information for Santander-Chile as of the dates and for each of the periods indicated. Financial information for Santander-Chile as of and for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2014 has been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements prepared in accordance with IFRS. In the F-pages of this Annual Report on Form 20-F, our audited financial statements as of December 31, 2018 and 2017 and for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016 are presented. The audited financial statements for 2015 and 2014 are not included in this document, but they can be found in our previous Annual Reports on Form 20-F. These consolidated financial statements differ in some respects from our locally filed financial statements as of and for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014 prepared in accordance with Chilean Bank GAAP. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—Differences between IFRS and Chilean Bank GAAP.”

 

The following table should be read in conjunction with, and is qualified in its entirety by reference to, our Audited Consolidated Financial Statements appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report.

 

   As of and for the years ended December 31, 
   2018   2018   2017   2016   2015   2014 
   In U.S.$ thousands(1)   In Ch$ millions (2) 
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF INCOME DATA (IFRS)                        
Net interest income    2,027,012    1,414,368    1,326,691    1,281,366    1,255,206    1,317,104 
Net fee and commission income    416,884    290,885    279,063    254,424    237,627    227,283 
Financial transactions, net (3)    150,599    105,082    129,752    140,358    145,499    112,565 
Other operating income    33,148    23,129    62,016    6,427    6,439    6,545 
Net operating profit before provision for loan losses    2,627,643    1,833,464    1,797,522    1,682,575    1,644,771    1,663,497 
Provision for loan losses    (454,896)   (317,408)   (302,255)   (342,083)   (399,277)   (354,903)
Net operating income    2,172,747    1,516,056    1,495,267    1,340,492    1,245,494    1,308,594 
Total operating expenses    (1,081,051)   (754,314)   (778,950)   (756,041)   (719,958)   (683,819)
Operating income    1,091,696    761,742    716,317    584,451    525,536    624,775 
Income from investments in associates and other companies    7,302    5,095    3,963    3,012    2,588    2,165 
Income before tax    1,098,998    766,837    720,280    587,463    528,124    626,940 
Income tax expense    (239,544)   (167,144)   (145,031)   (109,031)   (76,395)   (51,050)
Net income for the year    859,455    599,693    575,249    478,432    451,729    575,890 
Net income for the period attributable to:                              
Equity holders of the Bank    853,206    595,333    562,801    476,067    448,466    569,910 
Non-controlling interests    6,249    4,360    12,448    2,365    3,263    5,980 
Net income attributable to Equity holders of the Bank per share    4.53    3.16    2.99    2.53    2.38    3.02 
Net income attributable to Equity holders of the Bank per ADS    1,811.09    1,263.71    1,406.96    1,010.51    951.92    1,208.00 
Weighted-average shares outstanding (in millions)    188,446.1    188,446.1    188,446.10    188,446.1    188,446.1    188,446.1 
Weighted-average ADS outstanding (in millions)    471.1    471.1    471.1    471.1    471.1    471.1 

 

 7

 

 

 

 

   As of and for the years ended December 31, 
   2018   2018   2017   2016   2015   2014 
   In U.S.$ thousands(1)   In Ch$ millions (2) 
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION DATA (IFRS)                              
Cash and deposits in banks    2,960,102    2,065,441    1,452,922    2,279,389    2,064,806    1,608,888 
Cash items in process of collection    506,990    353,757    668,145    495,283    724,521    531,373 
Investments under resale agreements                6,736    2,463     
Financial derivative contracts    4,443,698    3,100,635    2,238,647    2,500,782    3,205,926    2,727,563 
Trading investments            485,736    396,987    324,271    774,815 
Interbank loans, net            162,213    268,672    9,711    11,942 
Loans and accounts receivable from customers, net            26,772,544    26,147,154    24,528,745    22,196,390 
Available-for-sale investments             2,574,546    3,388,906    2,044,411    1,651,598 
Financial assets held for trading   110,412    77,041                 
Loans and account receivable at amortized cost    42,035,945    29,331,001                 
Loans and account receivable at fair value through other comprehensive income    98,297    68,588                 
Debt instrument at fair value through other comprehensive income    3,431,442    2,394,323                 
Equity instruments at fair value through other comprehensive income    692    483                 
Investments in associates and other companies    45,865    32,003    27,585    23,780    20,309    17,914 
Intangible assets    95,911    66,923    63,219    58,085    51,137    40,983 
Property, plant, and equipment    363,429    253,586    242,547    257,379    240,659    211,561 
Current taxes                        2,241 
Deferred taxes    569,702    397,515    371,091    359,600    320,527    272,118 
Other assets    1,420,569    991,216    764,410    847,272    1,100,174    927,961 
TOTAL ASSETS    56,083,054    39,132,512    35,823,605    37,030,025    34,637,660    30,975,347 
Deposits and other demand  liabilities    12,527,828    8,741,417    7,768,166    7,539,315    7,356,121    6,480,497 
Cash items in process of being cleared    233,666    163,043    486,726    288,473    462,157    281,259 
Obligations under repurchase agreements    69,573    48,545    268,061    212,437    143,689    392,126 
Time deposits and other time liabilities    18,728,243    13,067,819    11,913,945    13,151,709    12,182,767    10,413,940 
Financial derivative contracts    3,608,301    2,517,728    2,139,488    2,292,161    2,862,606    2,561,384 
Interbank borrowing s   2,563,383    1,788,626    1,698,357    1,916,368    1,307,574    1,231,601 
Issued debt instruments    11,630,407    8,115,233    7,093,653    7,326,372    5,957,095    5,785,112 
Other financial liabilities    308,702    215,400    242,030    240,016    220,527    205,125 
Current taxes    11,599    8,093    6,435    29,294    17,796    1,077 
Deferred taxes    22,171    15,470    9,663    7,686    3,906    7,631 
Provisions    437,501    305,271    303,798    292,210    274,998    285,970 
Other liabilities    1,290,427    900,408    745,363    795,785    1,045,869    654,557 
TOTAL LIABILITIES    51,431,801    35,887,053    32,675,685    34,091,826    31,835,105    28,300,279 
Capital    1,277,378    891,303    891,303    891,303    891,303    891,303 
Reserves    2,755,993    1,923,022    1,781,818    1,640,112    1,527,893    1,307,761 
Valuation adjustments    16,269    11,352    (2,312)   6,640    1,288    25,600 
Retained earnings    535,455    373,619    435,228    370,803    351,890    417,321 
Attributable to Equity holders of the Bank    4,585,095    3,199,296    3,106,037    2,908,858    2,772,374    2,641,985 
Non-controlling interest   66,159    46,163    41,883    29,341    30,181    33,083 
TOTAL EQUITY (4)    4,651,254    3,245,459    3,147,920    2,938,199    2,802,555    2,675,068 
TOTAL LIABILITIES AND EQUITY    56,083,054    39,132,512    35,823,605    37,030,025    34,637,660    30,975,347 

 

   As of and for the years ended December 31, 
   2018   2017   2016   2015   2014 
CONSOLIDATED RATIOS                         
(IFRS)                         
Profitability and performance:                         
Net interest margin (5)    4.3%   4.3%   4.3%   4.4%   4.9%
Return on average total assets (6)    1.6%   1.6%   1.4%   1.3%   1.8%
Return on average equity (7)    18.4%   19.2%   16.8%   16.0%   21.4%
Capital:                         
Average equity as a percentage of average total assets (8)    8.8%   8.5%   8.1%   8.2%   8.2%
Total liabilities as a multiple of equity (9)    11.1    10.4    11.6    11.4    10.6 

 

 

 8

 

 

   As of and for the years ended December 31, 
   2018   2017   2016   2015   2014 
Credit Quality:                         
Non-performing loans as a percentage of total loans (10)    2.1%   2.3%   2.1%   2.5%   2.8%
Allowance for loan losses as percentage of total loans(11)    2.9%   2.9%   2.9%   3.0%   2.9%
Operating Ratios:                         
Operating expenses /operating revenue (12)    41.1%   43.3%   44.9%   43.8%   41.1%
Operating expenses /average total assets    2.0%   2.3%   2.1%   2.1%   2.1%
                          
OTHER DATA                         
CPI Inflation Rate (13)    2.6%   2.3%   2.7%   4.4%   4.7%
Revaluation (devaluation) rate (Ch$/U.S.$) at year end (13)    (13.1%)   7.8%   5.7%   (16.5%)   (16.0%)
Number of employees at period end    11,305    11,068    11,354    11,723    11,478 
Number of branches and offices at period end    380    385    423    471    474 

 

 

(1)Amounts stated in U.S. dollars at and for the year ended December 31, 2018 have been translated from Chilean pesos at the interbank market exchange rate of Ch$697.76 = U.S.$1.00 as of December 31, 2018 based on the interbank market rate published by Reuters at 1:30 pm on the last business day of the period.

 

(2)Except per share data, percentages and ratios, share numbers, employee numbers and branch numbers.

 

(3)Net income (expense) from financial operations and net foreign exchange gain.

 

(4)Total equity includes equity attributable to Equity holders of the Bank plus non-controlling interests.

 

(5)Net interest income divided by average interest earning assets (as presented in “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects— C. Selected Statistical Information”).

 

(6)Net income for the year divided by average total assets (as presented in “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects— C. Selected Statistical Information”).

 

(7)Net income for the year divided by average equity (as presented in “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—C. Selected Statistical Information”).

 

(8)This ratio is calculated using total average equity (as presented in “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects— C. Selected Statistical Information”) including non-controlling interest.

 

(9)Total liabilities divided by equity.

 

(10)Non-performing loans include the aggregate unpaid principal and accrued but unpaid interest on all loans with at least one installment over 90 days past-due. Total loans in 2018 corresponds to loans at amortized cost.

 

(11) Allowance for loan losses as of December 31, 2018 corresponds to allowances for loans at fair value through other comprehensive income at amortized cost according to IFRS 9. Prior periods are in accordance with IAS 39.

 

(12)The efficiency ratio is equal to operating expenses over operating income. Operating expenses includes personnel salaries and expenses, administrative expenses, depreciation and amortization, impairment and other operating expenses. Operating income includes net interest income, net fee and commission income, net income from financial operations (net trading income), foreign exchange gain, net and other operating income.

 

(13)Based on information published by the Central Bank.

 

Exchange Rates

 

Chile has two currency markets, the Mercado Cambiario Formal, or the Formal Exchange Market, and the Mercado Cambiario Informal, or the Informal Exchange Market. According to Law 18,840, the organic law of the Central Bank and the Central Bank Act (Ley Orgánica Constitucional del Banco Central de Chile), the Central Bank determines which purchases and sales of foreign currencies must be carried out in the Formal Exchange Market. Pursuant to Central Bank regulations currently in effect, all payments, remittances or transfers of foreign currency abroad which are required to be effected through the Formal Exchange Market may be effected with foreign currency procured outside the Formal Exchange Market. The Formal Exchange Market is comprised of the banks and other entities so authorized by the Central Bank. The Informal Exchange Market is comprised of entities that are not expressly authorized to operate in the Formal Exchange Market, such as certain foreign exchange houses and travel agencies, among others. The Central Bank is empowered to require that certain purchases and sales of foreign currencies be carried out on the Formal Exchange Market. The conversion from pesos to U.S. dollars of all payments and distributions with respect to the ADSs described in this Annual Report must be transacted at the spot market rate in the Formal Exchange Market.

 

 9

 

 

Both the Formal and Informal Exchange Markets are driven by free market forces. Current regulations require that the Central Bank be informed of certain transactions and that they be effected through the Formal Exchange Market. In order to keep the average exchange rate within certain limits, the Central Bank may intervene by buying or selling foreign currency on the Formal Exchange Market.

 

The U.S.$ Observed Exchange Rate (dólar observado), which is reported by the Central Bank and published daily in the Chilean newspapers, is the weighted average exchange rate of the previous business day’s transactions in the Formal Exchange Market. The Central Bank has the power to intervene by buying or selling foreign currency on the Formal Exchange Market to attempt to maintain the Observed Exchange Rate within a desired range. Even though the Central Bank is authorized to carry out its transactions at the Observed Exchange Rate, it generally uses spot rates for its transactions. Other banks generally carry out authorized transactions at spot rates as well.

 

Purchases and sales of foreign currencies may be legally carried out in the Informal Exchange Market. The Informal Exchange Market reflects transactions carried out at informal exchange rates by entities not expressly authorized to operate in the Formal Exchange Market. There are no limits imposed on the extent to which the rate of exchange in the Informal Exchange Market can fluctuate above or below the Observed Exchange Rate. In recent years, the variation between the Observed Exchange Rate and the Informal Exchange Rate has not been significant. On December 31, 2018 and 2017 the exchange rate in the Informal Exchange Market as published by Reuters at 1:30 pm on these days was Ch$697.76 and Ch$616.85 respectively, or 0.30% more and 0.26% more, respectively, than the Central Bank’s published observed exchange rate for such date of Ch$695.69 and Ch$615.22, respectively, per U.S.$1.00.

 

Dividends

 

Under the current General Banking Law, a Chilean bank may only pay a single dividend per year (i.e., interim dividends are not permitted). Santander-Chile’s annual dividend is proposed by its Board of Directors and is approved by the shareholders at the annual ordinary shareholders’ meeting held the year following that in which the dividend is generated. For example, the 2018 dividend must be proposed and approved during the first four months of 2019. Following shareholder approval, the proposed dividend is declared and paid. Historically, the dividend for a particular year has been declared and paid no later than one month following the shareholders’ meeting. Dividends are paid to shareholders of record on the fifth day preceding the date set for payment of the dividend. The applicable record dates for the payment of dividends to holders of ADSs will, to the extent practicable, be the same.

 

Under the General Banking Law, a bank must distribute cash dividends in respect of any fiscal year in an amount equal to at least 30% of its net income for that year, as long as the dividend does not result in the infringement of minimum capital requirements. The balances of our distributable net income are generally retained for use in our business (including for the maintenance of any required legal reserves). Although our Board of Directors currently intends to pay regular annual dividends, the amount of dividend payments will depend upon, among other factors, our current level of earnings, capital and legal reserve requirements, as well as market conditions, and there can be no assurance as to the amount or timing of future dividends.

 

Dividends payable to holders of ADSs are net of foreign currency conversion expenses of The Bank of New York Mellon, as depositary (the “Depositary”) and will be subject to the Chilean withholding tax currently at the rate of 35% (subject to credits in certain cases as described in “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Taxation—Material Tax Consequences of Owning Shares of Our Common Stock or ADSs”).

 

Under the Foreign Investment Contract (as defined herein), the Depositary, on behalf of ADS holders, is granted access to the Formal Exchange Market to convert cash dividends from Chilean pesos to U.S. dollars and to pay such U.S. dollars to ADS holders outside Chile, net of taxes, and no separate registration by ADS holders is required. In the past, Chilean law required that holders of shares of Chilean companies who were not residents of Chile to register as foreign investors under one of the foreign investment regimes contemplated by Chilean law in order to have dividends, sale proceeds or other amounts with respect to their shares remitted outside Chile through the Formal Exchange Market. On April 19, 2001, the Central Bank deregulated the Exchange Market and eliminated the need to obtain approval from the Central Bank in order to remit dividends, but at the same time this eliminated the possibility of accessing the Formal Exchange Market. These changes do not affect the current Foreign Investment Contract, which was signed prior to April 19, 2001, which grants access to the Formal Exchange Market with prior approval of the Central Bank. See “Item 10. Additional Information—D. Exchange Controls.”

 

 10

 

 

The following table presents dividends declared and paid by us in nominal terms in the past four years:

 

Year  Dividend
Ch$ millions (1)
  Dividend
U.S.$ millions (2)
  Per share Ch$/share (3)  Per ADS U.S.$/ADS (4)  % over
earnings (5)
  % over
earnings (6)
 
2015   330,198   540.4   1.75   1.15   60   58 
2016   336,659   503.7   1.79   1.07   75   75 
2017   330,646   496.5   1.75   1.05   70   69 
2018   423,611   702.3   2.25   1.49   75   75 

 

 

(1)Millions of nominal pesos.

 

(2)Millions of U.S.$ using the observed exchange rate of the day the dividend was approved at the annual shareholders’ meeting.

 

(3)Calculated on the basis of 188,446 million shares.

 

(4)Dividend in U.S.$ million divided by the number of ADS, which was calculated on the basis of 400 shares per ADS.

 

(5)Calculated by dividing dividend paid in the year by net income attributable to the equity holders of the Bank for the previous year under Chilean Bank GAAP. This is the payment ratio determined by shareholders.

 

(6) Calculated by dividing dividend paid in the year by net income attributable to the equity holders of the Bank for the previous year under IFRS.

 

B. Capitalization and Indebtedness

 

Not applicable.

 

C. Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

 

Not applicable.

 

D. Risk Factors

 

You should carefully consider the following risk factors, which should be read in conjunction with all the other information presented in this Annual Report. The risks and uncertainties described below are not the only ones that we face. Additional risks and uncertainties that we do not know about or that we currently think are immaterial may also impair our business operations. Any of the following risks, if they actually occur, could materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations, prospects and financial condition.

 

We are subject to market risks that are presented both in this subsection and in “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” and “Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk.”

 

Risks Associated with Our Business

 

We are vulnerable to disruptions and volatility in the global financial markets.

 

Global economic conditions deteriorated significantly between 2007 and 2009, and many countries fell into recession. Although many countries have recovered, this recovery may not be sustainable. Many major financial institutions, including some of the world’s largest global commercial banks, investment banks, mortgage lenders, mortgage guarantors and insurance companies experienced, and some continue to experience, significant difficulties. Around the world, there were runs on deposits at several financial institutions, numerous institutions sought additional capital or were assisted by governments, and many lenders and institutional investors reduced or ceased providing funding to borrowers (including to other financial institutions).

 

 11

 

 

In particular, we face, among others, the following risks related to the economic downturn:

 

Reduced demand for our products and services.

 

Increased regulation of our industry. Compliance with such regulation will continue to increase our costs and may affect the pricing for our products and services, increase our conduct and regulatory risks to non-compliance and limit our ability to pursue business opportunities.

 

Inability of our borrowers to timely or fully comply with their existing obligations. Macroeconomic shocks may negatively impact the household income of our retail customers and may adversely affect the recoverability of our retail loans, resulting in increased loan losses.

 

The process we use to estimate losses inherent in our credit exposure requires complex judgments, including forecasts of economic conditions and how these economic conditions might impair the ability of our borrowers to repay their loans. The degree of uncertainty concerning economic conditions may adversely affect the accuracy of our estimates, which may, in turn, impact the reliability of the process and the sufficiency of our loan loss allowances.

 

The value and liquidity of the portfolio of investment securities that we hold may be adversely affected.

 

Any worsening of global economic conditions may delay the recovery of the international financial industry and impact our financial condition and results of operations.

 

Despite recent improvements in certain segments of the global economy, uncertainty remains concerning the future economic environment. Such economic uncertainty could have a negative impact on our business and results of operations. A slowing or failing of the economic recovery would likely aggravate the adverse effects of these difficult economic and market conditions on us and on others in the financial services industry.

 

A return to volatile conditions in the global financial markets could have a material adverse effect on us, including on our ability to access capital and liquidity on financial terms acceptable to us, if at all. If capital markets financing ceases to become available, or becomes excessively expensive, we may be forced to raise the rates we pay on deposits to attract more customers and become unable to maintain certain liability maturities. Any such increase in capital markets funding availability or costs or in deposit rates could have a material adverse effect on our interest margins and liquidity.

 

Additionally, the results of the 2016 United States presidential and congressional elections generated volatility in the global capital and currency markets and created uncertainty about the relationship between the United States and its major trade partners. The uncertainty persists in relation to the United States trade policy, in particular with respect to any further protectionist shift.

 

If all or some of the foregoing risks were to materialize, this could have a material adverse effect on our financing availability and terms and, more generally, on our results, financial condition and prospects.

 

Credit, market and liquidity risk may have an adverse effect on our credit ratings and our cost of funds. Any downgrade in Chile’s, our controlling shareholders or our credit rating would likely increase our cost of funding, require us to post additional collateral or take other actions under some of our derivative contracts and adversely affect our interest margins and results of operations.

 

Credit ratings affect the cost and other terms upon which we are able to obtain funding. Rating agencies regularly evaluate us, and their ratings of our debt are based on a number of factors, including our financial strength and conditions affecting the financial services industry generally. In addition, due to the methodology of the main rating agencies, our credit rating is affected by the rating of Chile’s sovereign debt. If Chile’s sovereign debt is downgraded, our credit rating would also likely be downgraded by an equivalent amount.

 

 12

 

 

In August 2017, Fitch Ratings Ltd. (“Fitch”) downgraded our main ratings from A+ to A following a similar action on the sovereign rating of the Republic of Chile. Standard and Poor’s Ratings Services (“S&P”) placed the Bank’s ratings on Outlook Negative in August 2017 and reaffirmed this rating and outlook in November 2017. In August 2018, the Bank’s outlook changed from negative to stable after the outlook for the sovereign rating of the Republic of Chile was changed to stable in July 2017 and the Bank’s A rating was affirmed in August 2017.

 

In July 2018, Moody’s downgraded our main rating to A1 from Aa3, after revising the sovereign rating of the Republic of Chile to A1 as well. Moody’s currently has a stable outlook on the Republic of Chile’s sovereign rating and on our rating as well.

 

In addition, our ratings may be adversely affected by any downgrade in the ratings of our parent company, Santander Spain. The long-term debt of Santander Spain is currently rated investment grade by the major rating agencies: A2 (stable) by Moody’s, A (stable) by S&P and A- (stable) by Fitch.

 

Any downgrade in our debt credit ratings would likely increase our borrowing costs and may require us to post additional collateral or take other actions under some of our derivative contracts, and could limit our access to capital markets and adversely affect our commercial business. For example, a ratings downgrade could adversely affect our ability to sell or market certain of our products, engage in certain longer-term and derivatives transactions and retain our customers, particularly customers who need a minimum rating threshold in order to invest. In addition, under the terms of certain of our derivative contracts and other financial commitments we may be required to maintain a minimum credit rating or terminate such contracts or post collateral. Any of these results of a ratings downgrade could reduce our liquidity and have an adverse effect on us, including our operating results and financial condition.

 

While certain potential impacts of these downgrades are contractual and quantifiable, the full consequences of a credit rating downgrade are inherently uncertain, as they depend upon numerous dynamic, complex and inter-related factors and assumptions, including market conditions at the time of any downgrade, whether any downgrade of our long-term credit rating precipitates downgrades to our short-term credit rating, and assumptions about the potential behaviors of various customers, investors and counterparties. Actual outflows could be higher or lower than the preceding hypothetical examples, depending upon certain factors including which credit rating agency downgrades our credit rating, any management or restructuring actions that could be taken to reduce cash outflows and the potential liquidity impact from loss of unsecured funding (such as from money market funds) or loss of secured funding capacity. Although unsecured and secured funding stresses are included in our stress testing scenarios and a portion of our total liquid assets is held against these risks, a credit rating downgrade could still have a material adverse effect on us.

 

In addition, if we were required to cancel our derivatives contracts with certain counterparties and were unable to replace such contracts, our market risk profile could be altered.

 

There can be no assurance that the rating agencies will maintain the current ratings or outlooks. Failure to maintain favorable ratings and outlooks could increase our cost of funding and adversely affect interest margins, which could have a material adverse effect on us.

 

Increased competition, including from non-traditional providers of banking services such as financial technology providers, and industry consolidation may adversely affect our results of operations.

 

The Chilean market for financial services is highly competitive. We compete with other private sector Chilean and non-Chilean banks, with Banco del Estado de Chile, the principal government-owned sector bank, with department stores and with larger supermarket chains that make consumer loans and sell other financial products to a large portion of the Chilean population. The lower to middle-income segments of the Chilean population and the small- and mid- sized corporate segments have become the target markets of several banks and competition in these segments may increase. In addition, there has been a trend towards consolidation in the Chilean banking industry in recent years, which has created larger and stronger banks with which we must now compete. There can be no assurance that this increased competition will not adversely affect our growth prospects, and therefore our operations. We also face competition from non-bank (such as department stores, insurance companies, cajas de compensación and cooperativas) and non-finance competitors (principally department stores, auto-lenders and larger supermarket chains) with respect to some of our credit products, such as credit cards, consumer loans and insurance brokerage. In addition, we face competition from non-bank finance competitors, such as leasing, factoring and automobile finance companies, with respect to credit products, and from mutual funds, pension funds and insurance companies with respect to savings products.

 

 13

 

 

Non-traditional providers of banking services, such as internet based e-commerce providers, mobile telephone companies and internet search engines may offer and/or increase their offerings of financial products and services directly to customers. These non-traditional providers of banking services currently have an advantage over traditional providers because they are not subject to banking regulation. Several of these competitors may have long operating histories, large customer bases, strong brand recognition and significant financial, marketing and other resources. They may adopt more aggressive pricing and rates and devote more resources to technology, infrastructure and marketing.

 

New competitors may enter the market or existing competitors may adjust their services with unique product or service offerings or approaches to providing banking services. If we are unable to successfully compete with current and new competitors, or if we are unable to anticipate and adapt our offerings to changing banking industry trends, including technological changes, our business may be adversely affected. In addition, our failure to effectively anticipate or adapt to emerging technologies or changes in customer behavior, including among younger customers, could delay or prevent our access to new digital-based markets, which would in turn have an adverse effect on our competitive position and business. Furthermore, the widespread adoption of new technologies, including cryptocurrencies and payment systems, could require substantial expenditures to modify or adapt our existing products and services as we continue to grow our internet and mobile banking capabilities. Our customers may choose to conduct business or offer products in areas that may be considered speculative or risky. Such new technologies could negatively impact our investments in bank premises, equipment and personnel for our branch network.

 

The persistence or acceleration of this shift in demand towards internet and mobile banking may necessitate changes to our retail distribution strategy, which may include closing and/or selling certain branches and restructuring our remaining branches and work force. These actions could lead to losses on these assets and may lead to increased expenditures to renovate, reconfigure or close a number of our remaining branches or to otherwise reform our retail distribution channel. Furthermore, our failure to swiftly and effectively implement such changes to our distribution strategy could have an adverse effect our competitive position.

 

Increasing competition could also require that we increase the rates offered on deposits or lower the rates we charge on loans, which could also have a material adverse effect on us, including our profitability. It may also negatively affect our business results and prospects by, among other things, limiting our ability to increase our customer base and expand our operations and increasing competition for investment opportunities.

 

If our customer service levels were perceived by the market to be materially below those of our competitor financial institutions, we could lose existing and potential business. If we are not successful in retaining and strengthening customer relationships, we may lose market share, incur losses on some or all of our activities or fail to attract new deposits or retain existing deposits, which could have a material adverse effect on our operating results, financial condition and prospects.

 

Our ability to maintain our competitive position depends, in part, on the success of new products and services we offer our clients and our ability to continue offering products and services from third parties, and we may not be able to manage various risks we face as we expand our range of products and services that could have a material adverse effect on us.

 

The success of our operations and our profitability depends, in part, on the success of new products and services we offer our clients and our ability to continue offering products and services from third parties. However, we cannot guarantee that our new products and services will be responsive to client demands, or that they will be successful. In addition, our clients’ needs or desires may change over time, and such changes may render our products and services obsolete, outdated or unattractive and we may not be able to develop new products that meet our clients’ changing needs. Our success is also dependent on our ability to anticipate and leverage new and existing technologies that may have an impact on products and services in the banking industry. Technological changes may further intensify and complicate the competitive landscape and influence client behavior. If we cannot respond in a timely fashion to the changing needs of our clients, we may lose clients, which could in turn materially and adversely affect us.

 

As we expand the range of our products and services, some of which may be at an early stage of development in the markets of certain regions where we operate, we will be exposed to new and potentially increasingly complex risks and development expenses in those markets, with respect to which our experience and the experience of our partners may not be sufficient. Our employees and our risk management systems may not be sufficient to enable us to properly manage such risks. In addition, the cost of developing products that are not launched is likely to affect our results of operations. Any or all of these factors, individually or collectively, could have a material adverse effect on us.

 

 14

 

 

Our strong position in the credit card market is in part due to our credit card co-branding agreement with Chile’s largest airline. This agreement was renewed in January 2019 for seven more years. Once this agreement expires, no assurance can be given that it will be renewed, which may materially and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition in the credit card business.

 

The financial problems faced by our customers could adversely affect us.

 

Market turmoil and economic recession could materially and adversely affect the liquidity, credit ratings, businesses and/or financial conditions of our borrowers, which could in turn increase our non-performing loan ratios, impair our loan and other financial assets and result in decreased demand for borrowings in general. In addition, our customers may further significantly decrease their risk tolerance to non-deposit investments such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds, which would adversely affect our fee and commission income. We may also be adversely affected by the negative effects of the heightened regulatory environment on our customers due to the high costs associated with regulatory compliance and proceedings. Any of the conditions described above could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

We may generate lower revenues from fee and commission based businesses.

 

The fees and commissions that we earn from the different banking and other financial services that we provide represent a significant source of our revenues. Our customers may significantly decrease their risk tolerance to non-deposit investments such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds for a number of reasons, including a market downturn, which would adversely affect us, including our fee and commission income.

 

Banco Santander Chile sold its asset management business in 2013 and signed a management service agreement for a 10 year-period with the acquirer of this business in which we sell asset management funds on their behalf. Therefore, even in the absence of a market downturn, below-market performance by the mutual funds of the firm we broker for may result in a reduction in revenue we receive from selling asset management funds and adversely affect our results of operations.

 

Market conditions have resulted, and could result, in material changes to the estimated fair values of our financial assets. Negative fair value adjustments could have a material adverse effect on our operating results, financial condition and prospects.

 

In the recent past, financial markets have been subject to significant stress resulting in steep falls in perceived or actual financial asset values, particularly due to volatility in global financial markets and the resulting widening of credit spreads. We have material exposures to securities, loans and other investments that are recorded at fair value and are therefore exposed to potential negative fair value adjustments. Asset valuations in future periods, reflecting then-prevailing market conditions, may result in negative changes in the fair values of our financial assets and these may also translate into increased impairments. In addition, the value ultimately realized by us on disposal may be lower than the current fair value. Any of these factors could require us to record negative fair value adjustments, which may have a material adverse effect on our operating results, financial condition or prospects.

 

In addition, to the extent that fair values are determined using financial valuation models, such values may be inaccurate or subject to change, as the data used by such models may not be available or may become unavailable due to changes in market conditions, particularly for illiquid assets, and particularly in times of economic instability. In such circumstances, our valuation methodologies require us to make assumptions, judgments and estimates in order to establish fair value, and reliable assumptions are difficult to make and are inherently uncertain and valuation models are complex, making them inherently imperfect predictors of actual results. Any consequential impairments or write-downs could have a material adverse effect on our operating results, financial condition and prospects.

 

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The credit quality of our loan portfolio may deteriorate and our loan loss reserves could be insufficient to cover our actual loan losses, which could have a material adverse effect on us.

 

Risks arising from changes in credit quality and the recoverability of loans and amounts due from counterparties are inherent in a wide range of our businesses. Non-performing or low credit quality loans have in the past negatively impacted our results of operations and could do so in the future. In particular, the amount of our reported non-performing loans may increase in the future as a result of growth in our total loan portfolio, including as a result of loan portfolios that we may acquire in the future (the credit quality of which may turn out to be worse than we had anticipated), or factors beyond our control, such as adverse changes in the credit quality of our borrowers and counterparties or a general deterioration in economic conditions in Chile or in global economic and political conditions. If we were unable to control the level of our non-performing or poor credit quality loans, this could have a material adverse effect on us.

 

As of December 31, 2018, our non-performing loans were Ch$631,649 million, and the ratio of our non-performing loans to total loans was 2.1%. As of December 31, 2018, our allowance for loan losses was Ch$882,450 million, and the ratio of our allowance for loan losses to total loans was 2.9 %. For additional information on our asset quality, see “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—C. Selected Statistical Information—Classification of Loan Portfolio Based on the Borrower’s Payment Performance.”

 

Our allowance for loan losses is based on our current assessment of and expectations concerning various factors affecting us, including the quality of our loan portfolio. These factors include, among other things, our borrowers’ financial condition, repayment abilities and repayment intentions, the realizable value of any collateral, the prospects for support from any guarantor, Chile’s economy, government macroeconomic policies, interest rates and the legal and regulatory environment. As the 2008 financial crisis has demonstrated, many of these factors are beyond our control. In addition, as these factors evolve, the models we use to determine the appropriate level of allowance for loan losses and other assets require recalibration, which can lead to increased provision expense. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—A. Operating Results–Results of Operations for the Years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016—Provision for loan losses, net of recoveries.”

 

As a result, there is no precise method for predicting loan and credit losses, and we cannot assure you that our allowance for loan losses will be sufficient in the future to cover actual loan and credit losses. If our assessment of and expectations concerning the above-mentioned factors differ from actual developments, if the quality of our total loan portfolio deteriorates, for any reason, including the increase in lending to individuals and small and medium enterprises, the volume increase in the consumer loan portfolio and the introduction of new products, or if the future actual losses exceed our estimates of incurred losses, we may be required to increase our provisions and allowance for loan losses, which may adversely affect us. If we are unable to control or reduce the level of our non-performing or poor credit quality loans, this could have a material adverse effect on us.

 

The value of the collateral securing our loans may not be sufficient, and we may be unable to realize the full value of the collateral securing our loan portfolio.

 

The value of the collateral securing our loan portfolio may fluctuate or decline due to factors beyond our control, including macroeconomic factors affecting Chile’s economy. The value of the collateral securing our loan portfolio may be adversely affected by force majeure events, such as natural disasters, particularly in locations where a significant portion of our loan portfolio is composed of real estate loans. Natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods may cause widespread damage, which could impair the asset quality of our loan portfolio and could have an adverse impact on Chile’s economy. The real estate market is particularly vulnerable in the current economic climate and this may affect us, as real estate represents a significant portion of the collateral securing our residential mortgage loan portfolio. We may also not have sufficiently recent information on the value of collateral, which may result in an inaccurate assessment for impairment losses of our loans secured by such collateral. If any of the above were to occur, we may need to make additional provisions to cover actual impairment losses of our loans, which may materially and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

 

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The growth of our loan portfolio may expose us to increased loan losses. Our exposure to individuals and small and mid-sized businesses could lead to higher levels of past due loans, allowances for loan losses and charge-offs.

 

The further expansion of our loan portfolio (particularly in the consumer, small- and mid-sized companies and real estate segments) can be expected to expose us to a higher level of loan losses and require us to establish higher levels of provisions for loan losses. See “Note 9—Loans and Account Receivable at Amortized Cost – under IFRS 9” and “Note 10—Loans and Account Receivable at Fair Value through Other Comprehensive Income – under IFRS 9” in our Audited Consolidated Financial Statements for a description and presentation of our loan portfolio as well as “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—C. Selected Statistical Information—Loan Portfolio.”

 

Retail customers represent 68.8% of the value of the total loan portfolio at amortized cost as of December 31, 2018. As part of our business strategy, we seek to increase lending and other services to retail clients, which are more likely to be adversely affected by downturns in the Chilean economy. In addition, as of December 31, 2018, our residential mortgage loan portfolio totaled Ch$10,150,981 million, representing 33.6% of our total loans. See “Note 9— Loans and Account Receivable at Amortized Cost – under IFRS 9” in our Audited Consolidated Financial Statements for a description and presentation of our residential mortgage loan portfolio. If the economy and real estate market in Chile experience a significant downturn, this could materially adversely affect the liquidity, businesses and financial conditions of our customers, which may in turn cause us to experience higher levels of past-due loans, thereby resulting in higher provisions for loan losses and subsequent charge-offs. This may materially and adversely affect our asset quality, results of operations and financial condition.

 

The growth rate of our loan portfolio may be affected by economic turmoil, which could also lead to a contraction in our loan portfolio.

 

There can be no assurance that our loan portfolio will continue to grow at similar rates to historical growth rates. A reversal of the rate of growth of the Chilean economy, a slowdown in the growth of customer demand, an increase in market competition or changes in governmental regulations could adversely affect the rate of growth of our loan portfolio and our risk index and, accordingly, increase our required allowances for loan losses. Economic turmoil could materially adversely affect the liquidity, businesses and financial condition of our customers as well as lead to a general decline in consumer spending and a rise in unemployment. All this could in turn lead to decreased demand for borrowings in general.

 

Our financial results are constantly exposed to market risk. We are subject to fluctuations in interest rates and other market risks, which may materially and adversely affect us and our profitability.

 

Market risk refers to the probability of variations in our net interest income or in the market value of our assets and liabilities due to volatility of interest rate, inflation, exchange rate or equity price. Changes in interest rates affect the following areas, among others, of our business:

 

net interest income;

 

the volume of loans originated;

 

credit spreads;

 

the market value of our securities holdings;

 

the value of our loans and deposits; and

 

the value of our derivatives transactions.

 

Interest rates are sensitive to many factors beyond our control, including increased regulation of the financial sector, the reserve policies of the Central Bank, deregulation of the financial sector in Chile, monetary policies and domestic and international economic and political conditions. Variations in interest rates could affect the interest earned on our assets and interest paid on our borrowings, thereby affecting our net interest income, which comprises the majority of our revenue, reducing our growth rate and potentially resulting in losses. Interest rate variations could adversely affect us, including our net interest income, reducing our growth rate or even resulting in losses. When interest rates rise, we may be required to pay higher interest on our floating-rate borrowings while interest earned on our predominately fixed-rate assets may not rise as quickly, which could cause profits to grow at a reduced rate or decline in some parts of our portfolio.

 

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Increases in interest rates may reduce the volume of loans we originate. Sustained high interest rates have historically discouraged customers from borrowing and have resulted in increased delinquencies in outstanding loans and deterioration in the quality of assets. Increases in interest rates may reduce the value of our financial assets and may reduce gains or require us to record losses on sales of our loans or securities.

 

If interest rates decrease, although this is likely to decrease our funding costs, it is likely to adversely impact the income we receive from our investments in securities as well as loans with similar maturities. In addition, we may also experience increased delinquencies in a low interest rate environment when such an environment is accompanied by high unemployment and recessionary conditions.

 

The market value of a security with a fixed interest rate generally decreases when the prevailing interest rates rise, which may have an adverse effect on our earnings and financial condition. In addition, we may incur costs as we implement strategies to reduce interest rate exposure in the future (which, in turn, will impact our results). The market value of an obligation with a floating interest rate can be adversely affected when interest rates increase, due to a lag in the implementation of repricing terms or an inability to refinance at lower rates.

 

We are also exposed to foreign exchange rate risk as a result of mismatches between assets and liabilities denominated in different currencies. Fluctuations in the exchange rate between currencies may negatively affect our earnings and value of our assets and securities. Therefore, while the Bank seeks to avoid significant mismatches between assets and liabilities due to foreign currency exposure, from time to time, we may have mismatches. “See Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosure About Market Risks—E. Market Risks—Foreign exchange fluctuations.”

 

We are also exposed to equity price risk in our investments in equity securities in the banking book and in the trading portfolio. The performance of financial markets may cause changes in the value of our investment and trading portfolios. The volatility of world equity markets due to the continued economic uncertainty and sovereign debt crisis has had a particularly strong impact on the financial sector. Continued volatility may affect the value of our investments in equity securities and, depending on their fair value and future recovery expectations, could become a permanent impairment which would be subject to write-offs against our results. To the extent any of these risks materialize, our interest income / (charges) or the market value of our assets and liabilities could be materially adversely affected.

 

Failure to successfully implement and continue to improve our risk management policies, procedures and methods, including our credit risk management system, could materially and adversely affect us, and we may be exposed to unidentified or unanticipated risks.

 

The management of risk is an integral part of our activities. We seek to monitor and manage our risk exposure through a variety of separate but complementary financial, credit, market, operational, compliance and legal reporting systems. While we employ a broad and diversified set of risk monitoring and risk mitigation techniques, such techniques and strategies may not be fully effective in mitigating our risk exposure in all economic market environments or against all types of risk, including risks that we fail to identify or anticipate.

 

Some of our qualitative tools and metrics for managing risk are based upon our use of observed historical market behavior. We apply statistical and other tools to these observations to arrive at quantifications of our risk exposures. These qualitative tools and metrics may fail to predict future risk exposures. These risk exposures could, for example, arise from factors we did not anticipate or correctly evaluate in our statistical models. This would limit our ability to manage our risks. Our losses thus could be significantly greater than the historical measures indicate. In addition, our quantified modeling does not take all risks into account. Our more qualitative approach to managing those risks could prove insufficient, exposing us to material unanticipated losses. We could face adverse consequences as a result of decisions, which may lead to actions by management, based on models that are poorly developed, implemented or used, or as a result of the modelled outcome being misunderstood or the use of such information for purposes for which it was not designed. In addition, if existing or potential customers or counterparties believe our risk management is inadequate, they could take their business elsewhere or seek to limit their transactions with us. This could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, operating results, financial condition and prospects.

 

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As a commercial bank, one of the main types of risks inherent in our business is credit risk. For example, an important feature of our credit risk management system is to employ an internal credit rating system to assess the particular risk profile of a customer. As this process involves detailed analyses of the customer, taking into account both quantitative and qualitative factors, it is subject to human or IT systems errors. In exercising their judgment on current or future credit risk behavior of our customers, our employees may not always be able to assign an accurate credit rating, which may result in our exposure to higher credit risks than indicated by our risk rating system.

 

Failure to effectively implement, consistently monitor or continuously refine our credit risk management system may result in an increase in the level of non-performing loans and a higher risk exposure for us, which could have a material adverse effect on us.

 

The effectiveness of our credit risk management is affected by the quality and scope of information available in Chile.

 

In assessing customers’ creditworthiness, we rely largely on the credit information available from our own internal databases, the SBIF, Directorio de Información Comercial (Dicom) en Capital, a Chilean nationwide credit bureau, and other sources. Due to limitations in the availability of information and the developing information infrastructure in Chile, our assessment of credit risk associated with a particular customer may not be based on complete, accurate or reliable information. In addition, although we have been improving our credit scoring systems to better assess borrowers’ credit risk profiles, we cannot assure you that our credit scoring systems will collect complete or accurate information reflecting the actual behavior of customers or that their credit risk can be assessed correctly. Without complete, accurate and reliable information, we will have to rely on other publicly available resources and our internal resources, which may not be effective. As a result, our ability to effectively manage our credit risk and subsequently our loan loss allowances may be materially adversely affected.

 

Liquidity and funding risks are inherent in our business and could have a material adverse effect on us.

 

Liquidity risk is the risk that we either do not have available sufficient financial resources to meet our obligations as they fall due or can secure them only at excessive cost. This risk is inherent in any retail and commercial banking business and can be heightened by a number of enterprise-specific factors, including over-reliance on a particular source of funding, changes in credit ratings or market-wide phenomena such as market dislocation. While we implement liquidity management processes to seek to mitigate and control these risks, unforeseen systemic market factors make it difficult to eliminate completely these risks. Continued constraints in the supply of liquidity, including in inter-bank lending, has affected and may materially and adversely affect the cost of funding our business, and extreme liquidity constraints may affect our current operations and our ability to fulfill regulatory liquidity requirements as well as limit growth possibilities.

 

Increases in prevailing market interest rates and in our credit spreads can significantly increase the cost of our funding. Changes in our credit spreads may be influenced by market perceptions of our creditworthiness. Changes to interest rates and our credit spreads occur continuously and may be unpredictable and highly volatile.

 

We rely, and will continue to rely, primarily on commercial deposits to fund lending activities. The ongoing availability of this type of funding is sensitive to a variety of factors outside our control, such as general economic conditions and the confidence of commercial depositors in the economy and in the financial services industry, and the availability and extent of deposit guarantees, as well as competition between banks or with other products, such as mutual funds, for deposits. Any of these factors could significantly increase the amount of commercial deposit withdrawals in a short period of time, thereby reducing our ability to access commercial deposit funding on appropriate terms, or at all, in the future. If these circumstances were to arise, this could have a material adverse effect on our operating results, financial condition and prospects.

 

We anticipate that our customers will continue, in the near future, to make short-term deposits (particularly demand deposits and short-term time deposits), and we intend to maintain our emphasis on the use of banking deposits as a source of funds. As of December 31, 2018, 98.8% of our customer deposits had remaining maturities of one year or less, or were payable on demand. A significant portion of our assets have longer maturities, resulting in a mismatch between the maturities of liabilities and the maturities of assets. Historically, one of our principal sources of funds has been time deposits. Time deposits represented 33.4% and 33.3% of our total liabilities and equity as of December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively. The Chilean time deposit market is concentrated given the importance in size of various large institutional investors such as pension funds and corporations relative to the total size of the economy. As of December 31, 2018, the Bank’s top 20 time deposits represented 19.7% of total time deposits, or 6.6% of total liabilities and equity, and totaled U.S.$3.7 billion. No assurance can be given that future economic stability in the Chilean market will not negatively affect our ability to continue funding our business or to maintain our current levels of funding without incurring increased funding costs, a reduction in the term of funding instruments or the liquidation of certain assets. If this were to happen, we could be materially adversely affected.

 

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The short-term nature of this funding source could cause liquidity problems for us in the future if deposits are not made in the volumes we expect or are not renewed. If a substantial number of our depositors withdraw their demand deposits or do not roll over their time deposits upon maturity, we may be materially and adversely affected.

 

Central banks have taken extraordinary measures to increase liquidity in the financial markets as a response to the financial crisis. If current facilities were rapidly removed or significantly reduced, this could have an adverse effect on our ability to access liquidity and on our funding costs.

 

We cannot assure that in the event of a sudden or unexpected shortage of funds in the banking system, we will be able to maintain levels of funding without incurring high funding costs, a reduction in the term of funding instruments or the liquidation of certain assets. If this were to happen, we could be materially adversely affected.

 

Finally, the implementation of internationally accepted liquidity ratios might require changes in business practices that affect our profitability. The liquidity coverage ratio (“LCR”) is a liquidity standard that measures if banks have sufficient high-quality liquid assets to cover expected net cash outflows over a 30-day liquidity stress period. At December 31, 2018, our LCR ratio was 151.6%, above the 100% minimum requirement. The net stable funding ratio (NSFR) provides a sustainable maturity structure of assets and liabilities such that banks maintain a stable funding profile in relation to their activities. The final definition of the NSFR approved by the Basel Committee in October 2014, has not yet come into effect. The Basel requirement still needs to be written into the CRR, which is expected to be published in 2019.

 

We are subject to regulatory capital and liquidity requirements that could limit our operations, and changes to these requirements may further limit and adversely affect our operating results, financial condition and prospects.

 

Chilean banks are required by the General Banking Law to maintain regulatory capital of at least 8% of risk-weighted assets, net of required loan loss allowance and deductions, and paid-in capital and reserves (“core capital”) of at least 3% of total assets, net of required loan loss allowances. As we are the result of the merger between two predecessors with a relevant market share in the Chilean market, we are currently required to maintain a minimum regulatory capital to risk-weighted assets ratio of 11%. As of December 31, 2018, the ratio of our regulatory capital to risk-weighted assets, net of loan loss allowance and deductions, was 13.4% and our core capital ratio was 10.6%. Certain developments could affect our ability to continue to satisfy the current capital adequacy requirements applicable to us, including:

 

the increase of risk-weighted assets as a result of the expansion of our business or regulatory changes;

 

the failure to increase our capital correspondingly;

 

losses resulting from a deterioration in our asset quality;

 

declines in the value of our investment instrument portfolio;

 

changes in accounting standards;

 

changes in provisioning guidelines that are charged directly against our equity or net income; and

 

changes in the guidelines regarding the calculation of the capital adequacy ratios of banks in Chile.

 

On January 19, 2019, the Chilean government passed a law that amends, among others, the General Banking Law (the General Banking Law, as amended, is referred to herein as the “New General Banking Law”) and establishes new capital regulation for banks in Chile in line with Basel III standards and the merger of the banking regulator with the FMC, with all current SBIF attributions being transferred to the FMC. The FMC was created by Law 21,000 in 2017 and started operations December 14, 2017 (eliminating the Superintendency of Securities and Insurance as of January 15, 2018).

 

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This will lead to the FMC becoming the sole supervisor for the Chilean financial system overseeing insurance companies, companies with publicly traded securities, credit unions, credit card and prepaid card issuers, and banks. This commission is responsible for the proper functioning, development and stability of the financial market, facilitating the participation of market agents and defending public faith in the financial markets. To do so, it must maintain a general and systemic vision of the market, considering the interests of investors and policyholders. It is also responsible for ensuring that the persons or entities audited, from their initiation until the end of their liquidation, comply with the laws, regulations, statutes and other provisions that govern them.

 

The Commission will be in charge of a Council, which will be composed of five members, who are appointed and are subject to the following rules:

 

A Commissioner appointed by the President of Chile, of recognized professional or academic prestige in matters related to the financial system, which will have the character of President of the Commission.

 

Four commissioners appointed by the President of Chile, from among persons of recognized professional or academic prestige in matters related to the financial system, by supreme decree issued through the Ministry of Finance, after ratification of the Senate by the four sevenths of its members in exercise, in session specially convened for that purpose.  

 

The Council’s responsibilities include regulation, sanctioning and the definition of general supervision policies. In addition, there is a prosecutor in charge of investigations and the Chairman is responsible for supervision. The FMC acts in coordination with the Chilean Central Bank (BCCh).

 

Under the New General Banking Law, minimum capital requirements have increased in terms of amount and quality. Total Regulatory Capital remains at 8% of risk-weighted assets which includes credit, market and operational risk. Minimum Tier 1 capital increased from 4.5% to 6% of risk-weighted assets, of which up to 1.5% may be Additional Tier 1 (AT1), either in the form of preferred shares or perpetual bonds, both of which may be convertible to common equity. The FMC will now establish the conditions and requirements for the issuance of perpetual bonds and preferred equity. Tier 2 capital is now set at 2% of risk-weighted assets. Additional capital demands are incorporated through a Conservation Buffer of 2.5% of risk-weighted assets, setting a Total Equity Requirement of 10.5% of risk-weighted assets. The BCCh may set an additional Counter Cyclical Buffer of up to 2.5% of risk-weighted assets with agreement from the FMC. Both buffers must be comprised of core capital.

 

The FMC, with agreement from the BCCh, may impose additional capital requirements for Systemically Important Banks (“SIB”) of between 1-3.5% of risk-weighted assets. Notably, the BCCh may require: (1) the addition of up to 2% to the core capital to total assets ratios; (2) a reduction in the technical reserve requirement trigger from 2.5 times regulatory capital to 1.5 times regulatory capital; and/or (3) a reduction in the interbank loan limit to 20% of regulatory capital of any SIB. While the FMC has not yet established the criteria to assess which banks will be considered SIBs, it is probable that we will be classified an SIB.

 

The following table sets forth a comparison between the current regulatory capital demands, and those under the New General Banking Law.

 

Capital requirements: Basel III, current General Banking Law and New General Banking Law
Capital categories   Current General Banking Law   New General Banking Law
(% over risk weighted assets)
(1) Total Tier 1 Capital (2+3)   4.5   6
(2) Basic Capital   4.5   4.5
(3) Additional Tier 1 Capital (AT1)     1.5
(4) Tier 2 Capital   3.5   2
(5) Total Regulatory Capital (1+4)   8   8
(6) Conservation Buffer   2% over regulatory capital in order to be classified in Category A solvency.   2.5
(7) Total Equity Requirement (5+6)   8   10.5
(8) Counter Cyclical Buffer     up to 2.5
(9) SIB* Requirement   Up to 6% in case of a merger   Between 1 - 3.5

* Systemically Important Banks

 

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According to initial estimates of the impact of market risk on regulatory capital, published by the SBIF for informational purposes only, our ratio of regulatory capital to risk-weighted assets, net of loan loss allowance and deductions, including an initial estimate of the adjustments for market risk was 12.0% as of December 31, 2018. No assurance can be given that the adoption of the Basel III capital requirements will not have a material impact on our capitalization ratio.

 

The bill also incorporates Pillar II capital requirements with the objective of assuring an adequate management of risk. The FMC, with at least four votes from the Commission, will have the power to impose additional regulatory capital demands of up to 4% of risk-weighted assets, either Tier I or Tier II, if it determines that the previous capital levels and buffers are not enough for a financial institution.

 

The FMC will be responsible for establishing weightings for risk-weighted assets as a separate regulation based on the implementation of standard models, subject to agreement from the BCCh. The FMC will have until December 31, 2020 to establish the weightings. Until the FMC absorbs the SBIF (which is expected to take place on June 1, 2019) and the new weightings for risk-weighted assets are approved, banks must maintain regulatory capital of at least 8% of risk-weighted assets, net of required loan loss allowance and deductions, and paid-in capital and reserves (“core capital”) of at least 3% of total assets, net of required loan loss allowances. Banco Santander-Chile must maintain a minimum regulatory capital to risk-weighted assets ratio of 11%.

 

We may also be required to raise additional capital in the future in order to maintain our capital adequacy ratios above the minimum required levels. Our ability to raise additional capital may be limited by numerous factors, including: our future financial condition, results of operations and cash flows; any necessary government regulatory approvals; our credit ratings; general market conditions for capital raising activities by commercial banks and other financial institutions; and domestic and international economic, political and other conditions. If we require additional capital in the future, we cannot assure you that we will be able to obtain such capital on favorable terms, in a timely manner or at all. Furthermore, the FMC may increase the minimum capital adequacy requirements applicable to us. Accordingly, although we currently meet the applicable capital adequacy requirements, we may face difficulties in meeting these requirements in the future. If we fail to meet the capital adequacy requirements, we may be required to take corrective actions. These measures could materially and adversely affect our business reputation, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, if we are unable to raise sufficient capital in a timely manner, the growth of our loan portfolio and other risk-weighted assets may be restricted, and we may face significant challenges in implementing our business strategy. As a result, our prospects, results of operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.

 

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The SBIF and the Central Bank published new liquidity standards in 2015 and ratios that must be implemented and calculated by all banks. These will eventually replace the current regulatory limits imposed by the SBIF and the Central Bank described above. These new liquidity standards are in line with those established in Basel III. The most important liquidity ratios that will eventually be adopted by Chilean banks are:

 

Liability concentration per institutional and wholesale counterparty. Banks will have to calculate the percentage of their liabilities coming from institutional and wholesale counterparties, including ratios regarding renovation, renewals, restructurings, maturity and product concentration of these counterparties.

 

Liquidity coverage ratio (LCR), which measures the percentage of liquid Assets over net cash outflows. The new guidelines also define liquid assets and the formulas for calculating net cash outflows.

 

Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR) which will measure a bank’s available stable funding relative to its required stable funding. Both concepts are also defined in the new regulations.

 

Beginning on March 30, 2016, banks began reporting these ratios to the Central Bank and the SBIF. The final limits and results for the LCR were published in May 2018, with minimum LCR of 60% starting from January 1, 2019, gradually increasing by 10% until reaching 100%. The initial limits banks must meet in order to comply with the other liquidity ratios have not been published yet. For this reason, we cannot yet determine the effect that the implementation of these models will have on our business. Such effect could be material and adverse if it materially increases the liquidity we are required to maintain.

 

We are subject to regulatory risk, or the risk of not being able to meet all of the applicable regulatory requirements and guidelines.

 

As a financial institution, we are subject to extensive regulation, inspections, examinations, inquiries, audits and other regulatory requirements by Chilean regulatory authorities, which materially affect our businesses. We cannot assure you that we will be able to meet all of the applicable regulatory requirements and guidelines, or that we will not be subject to sanctions, fines, restrictions on our business or other penalties in the future as a result of noncompliance. If sanctions, fines, restrictions on our business or other penalties are imposed on us for failure to comply with applicable requirements, guidelines or regulations, our business, financial condition, results of operations and our reputation and ability to engage in business may be materially and adversely affected.

 

In their supervisory roles, the regulators seek to maintain the safety and soundness of financial institutions with the aim of strengthening the protection of customers and the financial system. The supervisors’ continuing supervision of financial institutions is conducted through a variety of regulatory tools, including the collection of information by way of prudential returns, reports obtained from skilled persons, visits to firms and regular meetings with management to discuss issues such as performance, risk management and strategy. In general, these regulators have a more outcome-focused regulatory approach that involves more proactive enforcement and more punitive penalties for infringement. As a result, we face increased supervisory scrutiny (resulting in increasing internal compliance costs and supervision fees), and in the event of a breach of our regulatory obligations we are likely to face more stringent regulatory fines.

 

Changes in regulations may also cause us to face increased compliance costs and limitations on our ability to pursue certain business opportunities and provide certain products and services. As some of the banking laws and regulations have been recently adopted, the manner in which those laws and related regulations are applied to the operations of financial institutions is still evolving. Moreover, to the extent these recently adopted regulations are implemented inconsistently in the various jurisdictions in which we operate, it may face higher compliance costs. No assurance can be given generally that laws or regulations will be adopted, enforced or interpreted in a manner that will not have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

 

Modifications to reserve requirements may affect our business.

 

Deposits are subject to a reserve requirement of 9.0% for demand deposits and 3.6% for time deposits (with terms of less than one year). The Central Bank has statutory authority to require banks to maintain reserves of up to an average of 40.0% for demand deposits and up to 20.0% for time deposits (irrespective, in each case, of the currency in which these deposits are denominated) to implement monetary policy. In addition, to the extent that the aggregate amount of the following types of liabilities exceeds 2.5 times the amount of a bank’s regulatory capital, a bank must maintain a 100% reserve against them: demand deposits, deposits in checking accounts, obligations payable on sight incurred in the ordinary course of business and, in general, all deposits unconditionally payable immediately. The New General Banking Law also states that the FMC, with the approval from the Central Bank, may lower the amount of a bank’s regulatory capital over which a SIB must maintain a 100% reserve, from 2.5 times to 1.5 times. If the Central Bank were to increase reserve requirements, this could lead to lower loan growth and have a negative effect on our business.

 

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Our business could be affected if its capital is not managed effectively or if changes limiting our ability to manage our capital position are adopted.

 

Effective management of our capital position is important to our ability to operate our business, to continue to grow organically and to pursue our business strategy. However, in response to the global financial crisis, a number of changes to the regulatory capital framework have been adopted or continue to be considered. As these and other changes are implemented or future changes are considered or adopted that limit our ability to manage our balance sheet and capital resources effectively or to access funding on commercially acceptable terms, we may experience a material adverse effect on our financial condition and regulatory capital position.

 

Changes to the pension fund system may affect the funding mix of the Bank

 

The current pension fund system dates from the 1980s when pensions went from being state-funded to privately-funded, which requires Chilean employees to set aside 10% of their wages. While the system is widely regarded as a success, the demographics of the Chilean society have changed and there have been some modifications to the system. As of December 31, 2018, the Chilean pension fund management companies (Administradora de Fondos de Pensión, or “AFPs”) had U.S.$6,473 million invested in the Bank via equity, deposits and fixed income. In November 2018, the Chilean government presented a proposal for pension reform to Congress for discussion. The proposed bill includes measures to open the pension fund management industry to new actors, lower entrance barriers to the industry, enhance the powers of the Superintendency of Pensions and introduce the FMC as a supervisory entity, among other reforms. The current proposal includes a reduction of the reserve requirement for AFPs, which typically consist of assets that the AFPs must maintain in order to cover the loss of value of the pension funds if profitability is less than the minimum amount required, from 1% to 0.5% of the value of each of the managed pension funds. Although the bill is currently in its first stage of discussions and widely expected to be approved, we are unable to predict the final content of the law. The potential adverse effect of the proposed law on our financial condition and results of operations cannot yet be ascertained.

 

The legal restrictions on the exposure of Chilean pension funds to different asset classes may affect our access to funding.

 

Chilean regulations impose a series of restrictions on how Chilean pension fund management companies (Administradora de Fondos de Pensión, or “AFPs”) may allocate their assets. In the particular case of financial issuers’ there are three restrictions, each involving different assets and different limits determined by the amount of assets in each fund and the market and book value of the issuer’s equity. As a consequence, limits vary within funds of AFPs and issuers. According to our estimates in December 2018, the AFPs still had the possibility of being able to invest another U.S.$11,781 million in the Bank via equity, deposits and fixed income. If the exposure of any AFP to Santander-Chile exceeds the regulatory limits or the regulatory limits are reduced, we would need to seek alternative sources of funding, which could be more expensive and, as a consequence, may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

Our financial statements are based in part on assumptions and estimates which, if inaccurate, could cause material misstatement of the results of our operations and financial position.

 

The preparation of financial statements requires management to make judgments, estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, income and expenses. Due to the inherent uncertainty in making estimates, actual results reported in future periods may be based upon amounts which differ from those estimates. Estimates, judgments and assumptions are continually evaluated and are based on historical experience and other factors, including expectations of future events that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances. Revisions to accounting estimates are recognized in the period in which the estimate is revised and in any future periods affected. The accounting policies deemed critical to our results and financial position, based upon materiality and significant judgments and estimates, include impairment of loans, valuation of financial instruments, valuation of derivatives, impairment of available-for-sale financial assets, deferred tax assets and liabilities and provisions -contingent liabilities.

  

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If the judgment, estimates and assumptions we use in preparing our consolidated financial statements are subsequently found to be incorrect, there could be a material effect on our results of operations and a corresponding effect on our funding requirements and capital ratios.

 

Changes in accounting standards could impact reported earnings.

 

The accounting standard setters and other regulatory bodies periodically change the financial accounting and reporting standards that govern the preparation of our consolidated financial statements. For example, IFRS 9 was adopted as of January 1, 2018, establishing a new impairment model of expected loss and make changes to the classification and measurement requirements for financial assets and liabilities. In addition, the Bank adopted IFRS 16 as of January 1, 2019, requiring new standards for recognition, measurement, presentation and disclosure of leases. This led to approximately Ch$154,284 million of assets for the right of use and lease liabilities for the same amount as of the date of adoption of IFRS 16. Changes made to accounting standards can materially impact how we record and report our financial condition and results of operations. In some cases, we could be required to apply a new or revised standard retroactively, resulting in the restatement of prior period financial statements. For further information about developments in financial accounting and reporting standards, see Note 1 to our Audited Consolidated Financial Statements.

 

We are subject to review by taxing authorities, and an incorrect interpretation by us of tax laws and regulations may have a material adverse effect on us.

 

The preparation of our tax returns requires the use of estimates and interpretations of complex tax laws and regulations and is subject to review by taxing authorities.

 

We are subject to the income tax laws of Chile and certain foreign countries. These tax laws are complex and subject to different interpretations by the taxpayer and relevant governmental taxing authorities, which are sometimes subject to prolonged evaluation periods until a final resolution is reached. In establishing a provision for income tax expense and filing returns, we must make judgments and interpretations about the application of these inherently complex tax laws.

 

If the judgment, estimates and assumptions we use in preparing our tax returns are subsequently found to be incorrect, there could be a material adverse effect on our results of operations. In some jurisdictions, the interpretations of the taxing authorities are unpredictable and frequently involve litigation, which introduces further uncertainty and risk as to tax expense.

 

Disclosure controls and procedures over financial reporting may not prevent or detect all errors or acts of fraud.

 

Disclosure controls and procedures, including internal controls, over financial reporting are designed to provide reasonable assurance that information required to be disclosed by the company in reports filed or submitted under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 is accumulated and communicated to management, and recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in the SEC’s rules and forms.

 

These disclosure controls and procedures have inherent limitations, which include the possibility that judgments in decision-making can be faulty and that breakdowns can occur because of errors or mistakes. Additionally, controls can be circumvented by any unauthorized override of the controls. Consequently, our businesses are exposed to risk from potential non-compliance with policies, employee misconduct or negligence and fraud, which could result in regulatory sanctions, civil claims and serious reputational or financial harm. In recent years, a number of multinational financial institutions have suffered material losses due to the actions of ‘rogue traders’ or other employees. It is not always possible to deter employee misconduct and the precautions we take to prevent and detect this activity may not always be effective. Accordingly, because of the inherent limitations in the control system, misstatements due to error or fraud may occur and not be detected.

 

We engage in transactions with related parties that others may not consider to be on an arm’s-length basis.

 

We and our affiliates have entered into a number of services agreements pursuant to which we render services, such as administrative, accounting, finance, treasury, legal services and others.

 

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Chilean law applicable to public companies and financial groups and institutions and our by-laws provide for several procedures designed to ensure that the transactions entered into with or among our financial subsidiaries and/or affiliates do not deviate from prevailing market conditions for those types of transactions, including the requirement that our board of directors approve such transactions. Furthermore, all significant related party transactions must be approved by the Audit Committee and the Board. These significant transactions are also reported in our annual shareholders meeting. Please see Note 36 of our Audited Consolidated Financial Statements and “Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions.”

 

We are likely to continue to engage in transactions with our affiliates. Future conflicts of interests between us and any of affiliates, or among our affiliates, may arise, which conflicts are not required to be and may not be resolved in our favor.

 

We may not effectively manage risks associated with the replacement of benchmark indices.

 

Interest rate, equity, foreign exchange rate and other types of indices which are deemed to be “benchmarks” are the subject of increased regulatory scrutiny. For example, in 2017, the FCA announced that it will no longer persuade or compel banks to submit rates for the calculation of the London interbank offered rate (“LIBOR”) benchmark after 2021. This announcement indicates that the continuation of LIBOR on the current basis cannot and will not be guaranteed after 2021, and it appears likely that LIBOR will be discontinued or modified by 2021. This and other reforms may cause benchmarks to reform differently than in the past, or to disappear entirely, or have other consequences which cannot be fully anticipated which introduces a number of risks for the business. These risks include (i) legal risks arising from potential changes required to documentation for new and existing transactions; (ii) financial risks arising from any changes in the valuation of financial instruments linked to benchmark rates; (iii) pricing risks arising from how changes to benchmark indices could impact pricing mechanisms on some instruments; (iv) operational risks arising from the potential requirement to adapt IT systems, trade reporting infrastructure and operational processes; and (v) conduct risks arising from the potential impact of communication with customers and engagement during the transition period. The replacement benchmarks, and the timing of and mechanisms for implementation have not yet been confirmed by central banks. Although we currently do not have any bonds maturing after 2021 that use a LIBOR benchmark, it is not currently possible to determine whether, or to what extent, any such changes would affect us. However, the implementation of alternative benchmark rates may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.

 

Any failure to effectively improve or upgrade our information technology infrastructure and management information systems in a timely manner or any failure to successfully implement new IT regulations could have a material adverse effect on us.

 

Our ability to remain competitive depends in part on our ability to upgrade our information technology on a timely and cost-effective basis. We must continually make significant investments and improvements in our information technology infrastructure in order to remain competitive. We cannot assure you that in the future we will be able to maintain the level of capital expenditures necessary to support the improvement or upgrading of our information technology infrastructure. Any failure to effectively improve or upgrade our information technology infrastructure and management information systems in a timely manner could have a material adverse effect on us.

 

In addition, several new regulations are defining how to manage cyber risks and technology risks, how to report a data breach, and how the supervisory process should work, among others. These regulations are quite fragmented in terms of definitions, scope and applicability. A failure to successfully implement all or some of these new global and local regulations, that in some cases have severe sanctions regimes, could have a material adverse effect on us.

 

Risks relating to data collection, processing and storage systems and security are inherent in our business.

 

Like other financial institutions, we manage and hold confidential personal information of customers in the conduct of our banking operations, as well as a large number of assets. Accordingly, our business depends on the ability to process a large number of transactions efficiently and accurately, and on our ability to rely on our digital technologies, computer and email services, software and networks, as well as on the secure processing, storage and transmission of confidential sensitive personal data and other information using our computer systems and networks. The proper functioning of financial control, accounting or other data collection and processing systems is critical to our businesses and to our ability to compete effectively. Losses can result from inadequate personnel, inadequate or failed internal control processes and systems, or from external events that interrupt normal business operations. We also face the risk that the design of our controls and procedures prove to be inadequate or are circumvented such that our data and/or client records are incomplete, not recoverable or not securely stored. Although we work with our clients, vendors, service providers, counterparties and other third parties to develop secure data and information processing, storage and transmission capabilities to prevent against information security risk, we routinely manage personal, confidential and proprietary information by electronic means, and we may be the target of attempted cyber-attack. If we cannot maintain an effective and secure electronic data and information, management and processing system or we fail to maintain complete physical and electronic records, this could result in regulatory sanctions and serious reputational or financial harm to us.

 

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We take protective measures and continuously monitor and develop our systems to protect our technology infrastructure, data and information from misappropriation or corruption, but our systems, software and networks nevertheless may be vulnerable to unauthorized access, misuse, computer viruses or other malicious code and other events that could have a security impact. An interception, misuse or mishandling of personal, confidential or proprietary information sent to or received from a client, vendor, service provider, counterparty or third party could result in legal liability, regulatory action, reputational harm and financial loss. There can be no absolute assurance that we will not suffer material losses from operational risk in the future, including those relating to any security breaches.

 

We have seen in recent years computer systems of companies and organizations being targeted, not only by cyber criminals, but also by activists and rogue states. We have been and continue to be subject to a range of cyber-attacks, such as denial of service, malware and phishing. Cyber-attacks could give rise to the loss of significant amounts of customer data and other sensitive information, as well as significant levels of liquid assets (including cash). In addition, cyber-attacks could disrupt our electronic systems used to service our customers. As attempted attacks continue to evolve in scope and sophistication, we may incur significant costs in order to modify or enhance our protective measures against such attacks, or to investigate or remediate any vulnerability or resulting breach, or in communicating cyber-attacks to our customers. If we fail to effectively manage our cyber security risk, e.g. by failing to update our systems and processes in response to new threats, this could harm our reputation and adversely affect our operating results, financial condition and prospects through the payment of customer compensation, regulatory penalties and fines and/or through the loss of assets. In addition, we may also be impacted by cyber-attacks against national critical infrastructures of the countries where we operate; for example, the telecommunications network. Our information technology systems are dependent on such national critical infrastructure and any cyber-attack against such critical infrastructure could negatively affect our ability to service our customers. As we do not operate such national critical infrastructure, we have limited ability to protect our information technology systems from the adverse effects of such a cyber-attack. For further information see “Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk—2. Non-financial risks—Cyber-security and data security plans.”

 

Although we have procedures and controls to safeguard personal information in our possession, unauthorized disclosures could subject us to legal actions and administrative sanctions as well as damages and reputational harm that could materially and adversely affect our operating results, financial condition and prospects. Further, our business is exposed to risk from potential non-compliance with policies, employee misconduct or negligence and fraud, which could result in regulatory sanctions and serious reputational or financial harm. It is not always possible to deter or prevent employee misconduct, and the precautions we take to detect and prevent this activity may not always be effective. In addition, we may be required to report events related to information security issues (including any cyber security issues), events where customer information may be compromised, unauthorized access and other security breaches, to the relevant regulatory authorities. Any material disruption or slowdown of our systems could cause information, including data related to customer requests, to be lost or to be delivered to our clients with delays or errors, which could reduce demand for our services and products, could produce customer claims and could materially and adversely affect us.

 

The Chilean Congress is currently discussing modifications to Law 20,009, which defines the scope of responsibility for users and issuers when a client’s cards and/or online payment or transfer user information are lost, stolen or fraudulently used (including through hacking and cloning). Cardholders are obligated to notify the bank through an easily accessible channel when their cards have been lost, stolen, or fraudulently used. Some members of Congress are proposing that for those transactions realized prior to the notice of loss or theft of a credit card, the cardholder must also notify the issuer of all of the unauthorized transactions in the same notice or up to five business days following the original notification. In cases of fraud, the user will not be responsible for the transactions that they did not authorize and which were made prior to the fraud notification within the 30 calendar days following the issuance of said notice. In these cases, some members of Congress are seeking that the issuer be responsible for assuming these costs or must demonstrate that the transaction was in fact authorized by the owner or user of the credit card. The law also considers increasing fines and jail time for those committing theft or fraud with credit cards, which must be legally pursued by the card issuer.

 

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In light of these developments, we are trying to limit the exposure of our clients to credit card fraud through education, insurance coverage, marketing campaigns, daily transfer amount limits, chip technology, improved ATM software, and other technological improvements, but we cannot assure that this law will not increase the financial costs related to cybercrime and credit card fraud.

 

We rely on third parties and affiliates for important products and services.

 

Third party vendors and certain affiliated companies provide key components of our business infrastructure such as loan and deposit servicing systems, back office and business process support, information technology production and support, internet connections and network access. Relying on these third parties and affiliated companies can be a source of operational and regulatory risk to us, including with respect to security breaches affecting such parties. We are also subject to risk with respect to security breaches affecting the vendors and other parties that interact with these service providers. As our interconnectivity with these third parties and affiliated companies increases, we increasingly face the risk of operational failure with respect to their systems. We may be required to take steps to protect the integrity of our operational systems, thereby increasing our operational costs and potentially decreasing customer satisfaction. In addition, any problems caused by these third parties or affiliated companies, including as a result of them not providing us their services for any reason, or performing their services poorly, could adversely affect our ability to deliver products and services to customers and otherwise conduct our business, which could lead to reputational damage and regulatory investigations and intervention. Replacing these third party vendors could also entail significant delays and expense. Further, the operational and regulatory risk we face as a result of these arrangements may be increased to the extent that we restructure such arrangements. Any restructuring could involve significant expense to us and entail significant delivery and execution risk which could have a material adverse effect on our business, operations and financial condition.

 

Damage to our reputation could cause harm to our business prospects.

 

Maintaining a positive reputation is critical to protect our brand, attract and retain customers, investors and employees and conduct business transactions with counterparties. Damage to our reputation can therefore cause significant harm to our business and prospects. Harm to our reputation can arise from numerous sources, including, among others, employee misconduct, including the possibility of fraud perpetrated by our employees, litigation or regulatory enforcement, failure to deliver minimum standards of service and quality, compliance failures, unethical behavior, and the activities of customers and counterparties. Further, negative publicity regarding us may result in harm to our prospects.

 

Actions by the financial services industry generally or by certain members of, or individuals in, the industry can also affect our reputation. For example, the role played by financial services firms in the financial crisis and the seeming shift toward increasing regulatory supervision and enforcement has caused public perception of us and others in the financial services industry to decline.

 

We could suffer significant reputational harm if we fail to identify and manage potential conflicts of interest properly. The failure, or perceived failure, to adequately address conflicts of interest could affect the willingness of clients to deal with us, or give rise to litigation or enforcement actions against us. Therefore, there can be no assurance that conflicts of interest will not arise in the future that could cause material harm to us.

 

We may be the subject of misinformation and misrepresentations deliberately propagated to harm our reputation or for other deceitful purposes, or by profiteering short sellers seeking to gain an illegal market advantage by spreading false information about us. There can be no assurance that we will effectively neutralize and contain a false information that may be propagated regarding the business, which could have an adverse effect on our operating results, financial condition and prospects.

 

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We rely on recruiting, retaining and developing appropriate senior management and skilled personnel.

 

Our continued success depends in part on the continued service of key members of our senior executive team and other key employees. The ability to continue to attract, train, motivate and retain highly qualified and talented professionals is a key element of our strategy. The successful implementation of our strategy and culture depends on the availability of skilled and appropriate management, both at our head office and at each of our business units. If we or one of our business units or other functions fails to staff its operations appropriately or loses one or more of its key senior executives or other key employees and fails to replace them in a satisfactory and timely manner, our business, financial condition and results of operations, including control and operational risks, may be adversely affected.

 

In addition, the financial industry has and may continue to experience more stringent regulation of employee compensation, which could have an adverse effect on our ability to hire or retain the most qualified employees. If we fail or are unable to attract and appropriately train, motivate and retain qualified professionals, our business may also be adversely affected.

 

We may not be able to detect or prevent money laundering and other financial crime activities fully or on a timely basis, which could expose us to additional liability and could have a material adverse effect on us.

 

We are required to comply with applicable anti-money laundering (“AML”), anti-terrorism, anti-bribery and corruption, sanctions and other laws and regulations applicable to us. These laws and regulations require us, among other things, to conduct full customer due diligence (including sanctions and politically-exposed person screening), keep our customer, account and transaction information up to date and have implemented financial crime policies and procedures detailing what is required from those responsible. We are also required to conduct AML training for our employees and to report suspicious transactions and activity to appropriate law enforcement following full investigation by our AML team.

 

Financial crime has become the subject of enhanced regulatory scrutiny and supervision by regulators globally. AML, anti-bribery and corruption and sanctions laws and regulations are increasingly complex and detailed. Compliance with these laws and regulations requires automated systems, sophisticated monitoring and skilled compliance personnel.

 

We have developed policies and procedures aimed at detecting and preventing the use of our banking network for money laundering and other financial crime related activities. However, emerging technologies, such as cryptocurrencies and blockchain, could limit our ability to track the movement of funds. Our ability to comply with the legal requirements depends on our ability to improve detection and reporting capabilities and reduce variation in control processes and oversight accountability. These require implementation and embedding within our business effective controls and monitoring, which in turn requires on-going changes to systems and operational activities. Financial crime is continually evolving and, as noted is subject to increasingly stringent regulatory oversight and focus. This requires proactive and adaptable responses from us so that we are able to deter threats and criminality effectively. Even known threats can never be fully eliminated, and there will be instances where we may be used by other parties to engage in money laundering and other illegal or improper activities. In addition, we rely heavily on our employees to assist us by spotting such activities and reporting them, and our employees have varying degrees of experience in recognizing criminal tactics and understanding the level of sophistication of criminal organizations. Where we outsource any of our customer due diligence, customer screening or anti financial crime operations, we remain responsible and accountable for full compliance and any breaches. If we are unable to apply the necessary scrutiny and oversight of third parties to whom we outsource certain tasks and processes, there remains a risk of regulatory breach.

 

If we are unable to fully comply with applicable laws, regulations and expectations, our regulators and relevant law enforcement agencies have the ability and authority to impose significant fines and other penalties on us, including requiring a complete review of our business systems, day-to-day supervision by external consultants and ultimately the revocation of our banking license.

 

The reputational damage to our business and global brand would be severe if we were found to have breached AML, anti-bribery and corruption or sanctions requirements. Our reputation could also suffer if we are unable to protect our customers’ bank products and services from being used by criminals for illegal or improper purposes.

 

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In addition, while we review our relevant counterparties’ internal policies and procedures with respect to such matters, we, to a large degree, rely upon our relevant counterparties to maintain and properly apply their own appropriate compliance procedures and internal policies. Such measures, procedures and internal policies may not be completely effective in preventing third parties from using our (and our relevant counterparties’) services as a conduit for illicit purposes (including illegal cash operations) without our (and our relevant counterparties’) knowledge. If we are associated with, or even accused of being associated with, breaches of AML, anti-terrorism or sanctions requirements, our reputation could suffer and/or we could become subject to fines, sanctions and/or legal enforcement (including being added to “black lists” that would prohibit certain parties from engaging in transactions with us), any one of which could have a material adverse effect on our operating results, financial condition and prospects.

 

Any such risks could have a material adverse effect on our operating results, financial condition and prospects.

 

We are exposed to risk of loss from legal and regulatory proceedings.

 

We face risk of loss from legal and regulatory proceedings, including tax proceedings, that could subject us to monetary judgments, regulatory enforcement actions, fines and penalties. The current regulatory and tax enforcement environment in the jurisdictions in which we operate reflects an increased supervisory focus on enforcement, combined with uncertainty about the evolution of the regulatory regime, and may lead to material operational and compliance costs.

 

We are from time to time subject to certain regulatory investigations and civil and tax claims and party to certain legal proceedings incidental to the normal course of our business, including in connection with conflicts of interest, lending activities, relationships with our employees and other commercial or tax matters. In view of the inherent difficulty of predicting the outcome of legal matters, particularly where the claimants seek very large or indeterminate damages, or where the cases present novel legal theories, involve a large number of parties or are in the early stages of investigation, discovery, we cannot state with confidence what the eventual outcome of these pending matters will be or what the eventual loss, fines or penalties related to each pending matter may be. The amount of our reserves in respect of these matters is substantially less than the total amount of the claims asserted against us and in light of the uncertainties involved in such claims and proceedings, there is no assurance that the ultimate resolution of these matters will not significantly exceed the reserves currently accrued by us. As a result, the outcome of a particular matter may be material to our operating results for a particular period. At December 31, 2018, we had provisions for legal contingencies of Ch$923 million.

 

We are subject to market, operational and other related risks associated with our derivative transactions that could have a material adverse effect on us.

 

We enter into derivative transactions for trading purposes as well as for hedging purposes. We are subject to market, credit and operational risks associated with these transactions, including basis risk (the risk of loss associated with variations in the spread between the asset yield and the funding and/or hedge cost) and credit or default risk (the risk of insolvency or other inability of the counterparty to a particular transaction to perform its obligations thereunder, including providing sufficient collateral).

 

Market practices and documentation for derivative transactions in Chile may differ from those in other countries. For example, documentation may not incorporate terms and conditions of derivatives transactions as commonly understood in other countries. In addition, the execution and performance of these transactions depend on our ability to maintain adequate control and administration systems. Moreover, our ability to adequately monitor, analyze and report derivative transactions continues to depend, largely, on our information technology systems. These factors further increase the risks associated with these transactions and could have a material adverse effect on us.

 

We are subject to counterparty risk in our banking business.

 

We are exposed to counterparty risk in addition to credit risks associated with lending activities. Counterparty risk may arise from, for example, investing in securities of third parties, entering into derivative contracts under which counterparties have obligations to make payments to us or executing securities, futures or currency trades that fail to settle at the required time due to non-delivery by the counterparty or systems failure by clearing agents, clearing houses or other financial intermediaries.

 

We routinely transact with counterparties in the financial services industry, including brokers and dealers, commercial banks, investment banks, mutual funds, hedge funds and other institutional clients. Defaults by, and even rumors or questions about the solvency of, certain financial institutions and the financial services industry generally have led to market-wide liquidity problems and could lead to losses or defaults by other institutions. Many of the routine transactions we enter into expose us to significant credit risk in the event of default by one of our significant counterparties.

 

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Our loan and investment portfolios are subject to risk of prepayment, which could have a material adverse effect on us.

 

Our fixed rate loan and investment portfolios are subject to prepayment risk, which results from the ability of a borrower or issuer to pay a debt obligation prior to maturity. Generally, in a declining interest rate environment, prepayment activity increases, which reduces the weighted average lives of our earning assets and could have a material adverse effect on us. We would also be required to amortize net premiums into income over a shorter period of time, thereby reducing the corresponding asset yield and net interest income. Prepayment risk also has a significant adverse impact on credit card and collateralized mortgage loans, since prepayments could shorten the weighted average life of these assets, which may result in a mismatch in our funding obligations and reinvestment at lower yields. Prepayment risk is inherent to our commercial activity and an increase in prepayments or a reduction in prepayment fees could have a material adverse effect on us. The current administration is presently analyzing an initiative to reduce or limit prepayment fees and the Bank does not yet have an estimate of the potential impact of such initiatives. We cannot assure you that this change or any future regulatory changes related to prepayment fees will not have a material impact on our business.

 

A significant deterioration in economic conditions may make it more difficult for us to continue funding our business on favorable terms with institutional investors.

 

Large denominations of funding from time deposits, interbank loans or commercial paper from institutional investors may, under some circumstances, be a less stable source of funding than savings and bonds, such as during periods of significant changes in market interest rates for these types of deposit products and any resulting increased competition for such funds. As of December 31, 2018, short-term funding from institutional investors as defined by our Asset and Liability Committee totaled U.S.$2,747 billion or 4.9% of total liabilities and equity. Significant future market instability in global markets, specifically the Eurozone and the U.S., may negatively affect our ability to continue funding our business or maintain our current levels of funding without incurring higher funding costs or having to liquidate certain assets.

 

If we are unable to manage the growth of our operations, this could have an adverse impact on our profitability.

 

We allocate management and planning resources to develop strategic plans for organic growth, and to identify possible acquisitions and disposals and areas for restructuring our businesses. From time to time, we evaluate acquisition and partnership opportunities that we believe offer additional value to our shareholders and are consistent with our business strategy. However, we may not be able to identify suitable acquisition or partnership candidates, and our ability to benefit from any such acquisitions and partnerships will depend in part on our successful integration of those businesses. Any such integration entails significant risks such as unforeseen difficulties in integrating operations and systems and unexpected liabilities or contingencies relating to the acquired businesses, including legal claims. We can give no assurances that our expectations with regard to integration and synergies will materialize. We also cannot provide assurance that we will, in all cases, be able to manage our growth effectively or deliver our strategic growth objectives. Challenges that may result from our strategic growth decisions include our ability to:

 

manage efficiently the operations and employees of expanding businesses;

 

maintain or grow our existing customer base;

 

assess the value, strengths and weaknesses of investment or acquisition candidates, including local regulation that can reduce or eliminate expected synergies;

 

finance strategic investments or acquisitions;

 

align our current information technology systems adequately with those of an enlarged group;

 

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apply our risk management policy effectively to an enlarged group; and

 

manage a growing number of entities without over-committing management or losing key personnel.

 

Any failure to manage growth effectively could have a material adverse effect on our operating results, financial condition and prospects.

 

In addition, any acquisition or venture could result in the loss of key employees and inconsistencies in standards, controls, procedures and policies.

 

Moreover, the success of the acquisition or venture will at least in part be subject to a number of political, economic and other factors that are beyond our control. Any of these factors, individually or collectively, could have a material adverse effect on us.

 

Risks Relating to Chile

 

Our growth, asset quality and profitability may be adversely affected by macroeconomic and political conditions in Chile.

 

A substantial number of our loans are to borrowers doing business in Chile. Chile’s economy has experienced significant volatility in recent decades, characterized, in some cases, by slow or regressive growth, declining investment and hyperinflation. This volatility resulted in fluctuations in the levels of deposits and in the relative economic strength of various segments of the economies to which we lend. The Chilean economy may not continue to grow at similar rates as in the past or future developments may negatively affect Chile’s overall levels of economic activity.

 

Negative and fluctuating economic conditions, such as slowing or negative growth and a changing interest rate and inflationary environment, impact our profitability by causing lending margins to decrease and credit quality to decline and leading to decreased demand for higher margin products and services. Negative and fluctuating economic conditions in Chile could also result in government defaults on public debt. This could affect us in two ways: directly, through portfolio losses, and indirectly, through instabilities that a default in public debt could cause to the banking system as a whole, particularly since commercial banks’ exposure to government debt is high in Chile.

 

Our revenues are also subject to risk of loss from unfavorable political and diplomatic developments, social instability, and changes in governmental policies, including expropriation, nationalization, international ownership legislation, interest-rate caps and tax policies.

 

Any future fluctuation in oil prices may give rise to volatility in the global financial markets and further economic instability in oil-dependent regions, such as Chile. In addition, the ability of borrowers in or exposed to the oil sector has been and may be further adversely affected by such price fluctuations.

 

Our growth, asset quality and profitability may be adversely affected by volatile macroeconomic and political conditions in Chile.

 

Any material change to United States trade policy with respect to Chile could have a material adverse effect on the economy, which could in turn materially harm our financial condition and results of operations.

 

Portions of our loan portfolio are subject to risks relating to force majeure events and any such event could materially adversely affect our operating results.

 

Chile lies on the Nazca tectonic plate, making it one of the world’s most seismically active regions. Our financial and operating performance may be adversely affected by force majeure events, such as natural disasters, particularly in locations where a significant portion of our loan portfolio is composed of real estate loans. Natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods may cause widespread damage which could impair the asset quality of our loan portfolio and could have an adverse impact on the economy of the affected region.

 

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Changes in taxes, including the corporate tax rate, in Chile may have an adverse effect on us and our clients.

 

The Chilean Government enacted in 2014 and again in 2016 a reform to the tax and other assessment regimes to which we are subject in order to finance greater expenditure in education. The most relevant change was the rise in the corporate tax rate to 27% by 2018 and the introduction of two corporate taxation regimes (Sistema Parcialmente Integrado (SIP or Semi-Integrated Regime) and the Sistema de Renta Atribuida (Attributed Income Regime). However, a corporation such as Banco Santander-Chile with a majority of shareholders that are incorporated entities is obliged to adhere to the Semi-Integrated Regime. The statutory tax rate rose to 27% in 2018, with personal and withholding taxes imposed on a cash basis (when dividends are distributed), therefore retaining some benefits for shareholders of companies that reinvest profits.

 

Furthermore, on August 23, 2018, the President of Chile sent to the National Congress Bill No. 107-366 containing the Tax Modernization Project. Among its changes, this bill proposes a single, fully integrated tax regime with a Corporate Income Tax (“CIT”) rate of 27% and under which CIT paid would be fully creditable against tax imposed on the shareholder. If this bill becomes effective, the Attributed Income Regime (Sistema de Renta Atribuida) and the Semi-Integrated Regime (Sistema Parcialmente Integrado) introduced by the previous tax reform would be repealed. This bill is still under consideration before the Chilean National Congress and, thus, the proposed reforms are not currently in force.

 

We cannot predict at this time if these reforms will have a material impact on our business or clients or if further tax reforms will be implemented in the future. Banco Santander Chile’s effective corporate tax rate could rise in the future, which may have an adverse impact on our results of operations. Please see “Item 10—Additional information—E. Taxation” for more information regarding the impacts of this tax reform on ADR holders.

 

Developments in other countries may affect us, including the prices for our securities.

 

The prices of securities issued by Chilean companies, including banks, are influenced to varying degrees by economic and market considerations in other countries. We cannot assure you that future developments in or affecting the Chilean economy, including consequences of economic difficulties in other markets, will not materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.

 

We are exposed to risks related to the weakness and volatility of the economic and political situation in Asia, the United States, Europe (including Spain, where Santander Spain, our controlling shareholder, is based), Brazil, Argentina and other nations. Although economic conditions in Europe and the United States may differ significantly from economic conditions in Chile, investors’ reactions to developments in these other countries may have an adverse effect on the market value of securities of Chilean issuers. In particular, investor perceptions of the risks associated with our securities may be affected by perception of risk conditions in Spain.

 

If these, or other nations’ economic conditions deteriorate, the economy in Chile, as both a neighboring country and a trading partner, could also be affected and could experience slower growth than in recent years, with possible adverse impact on our borrowers and counterparties. If this were to occur, we would potentially need to increase our allowances for loan losses, thus affecting our financial results, our results of operations and the price of our securities. As of December 31, 2018, approximately 2.6% of our assets were held abroad. There can be no assurance that the ongoing effects of a global financial crisis will not negatively impact growth, consumption, unemployment, investment and the price of exports in Chile. Crises and political uncertainties in other Latin American countries could also have an adverse effect on Chile, the price of our securities or our business.

 

Chile has considerable economic ties with China, the United States and Europe. In 2018, approximately 32.2% of Chile’s exports went to China, mainly copper. China’s economy has grown at a strong pace in recent times, but a slowdown in economic activity in China may affect Chile’s GDP and export growth as well as the price of copper, which is Chile’s main export. Chile exported approximately 14.6% of total exports to the United States and 14.6% to Europe in 2018.

 

Chile was recently involved in international litigation with Bolivia regarding maritime borders. We cannot assure you that crises and political uncertainty in other Latin American countries will not have an adverse effect on Chile, the price of our securities or our business.

 

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Fluctuations in the rate of inflation may affect our results of operations.

 

High levels of inflation in Chile could adversely affect the Chilean economy and have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Extended periods of deflation could also have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In 2009, Chile experienced deflation of 1.4% as the global economy contracted. In 2018, CPI inflation was 2.6% compared to 2.3% in 2017.

 

Our assets and liabilities are denominated in Chilean pesos, UF and foreign currencies. The UF is revalued in monthly cycles. On each day in the period beginning on the tenth day of any given month through the ninth day of the succeeding month, the nominal peso value of the UF is indexed up (or down in the event of deflation) in order to reflect a proportionate amount of the change in the Chilean Consumer Price Index during the prior calendar month. For more information regarding the UF, see “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—A. Operating Results—Impact of Inflation.” Although we benefit from inflation in Chile due to the current structure of our assets and liabilities (i.e., a significant portion of our loans are indexed to the inflation rate, but there are no corresponding features in deposits, or other funding sources that would increase the size of our funding base), there can be no assurance that our business, financial condition and result of operations in the future will not be adversely affected by changing levels of inflation, including from extended periods of inflation that adversely affect economic growth or periods of deflation.

 

Any change in the methodology of how the CPI index or the UF is calculated could also adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Currency fluctuations could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations and the value of our securities.

 

Any future changes in the value of the Chilean peso against the U.S. dollar will affect the U.S. dollar value of our securities. The Chilean peso has been subject to large devaluations and appreciations in the past and could be subject to significant fluctuations in the future. Our results of operations may be affected by fluctuations in the exchange rates between the peso and the dollar despite our policy and Chilean regulations relating to the general avoidance of material exchange rate exposure. In order to avoid material exchange rate exposure, we enter into forward exchange transactions. The following table shows the value of the Chilean peso relative to the U.S. dollar as reported by the Central Bank at year end for the last five years and the devaluation or appreciation of the peso relative to the U.S. dollar in each of those years.

 

Year  Exchange rate (Ch$) at year end  Devaluation (Appreciation) (%) 
2015   707.34   16.5 
2016   667.29   (5.7)
2017   615.22   (7.8)
2018   695.69   13.1 
2019 (through March 19, 2019)    667.21   (4.0)

Source: Central Bank.

 

We may decide to change our policy regarding exchange rate exposure. Regulations that limit such exposures may also be amended or eliminated. Greater exchange rate risk will increase our exposure to the devaluation of the peso, and any such devaluation may impair our capacity to service foreign currency obligations and may, therefore, materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. Notwithstanding the existence of general policies and regulations that limit material exchange rate exposures, the economic policies of the Chilean government and any future fluctuations of the peso against the dollar could affect our financial condition and results of operations.

 

We are subject to substantial regulation and regulatory and governmental oversight which could adversely affect our business, operations and financial condition.

 

As a financial institution, we are subject to extensive regulation, which materially affects our businesses. Therefore, the statutes, regulations and policies to which we are subject may be changed at any time. In addition, the interpretation and the application by regulators of the laws and regulations to which we are subject may also change from time to time. In the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008, the financial services industry continues to experience significant financial regulatory reform in jurisdictions outside of Chile that directly or indirectly affect our business, including Spain, the UK, the European Union, the United States, Latin America and other jurisdictions. Changes to current legislation and their implementation through regulation (including additional capital, leverage, funding, liquidity and tax requirements), policies (including fiscal and monetary policies established by central banks and financial regulators, and changes to global trade policies), and other legal and regulatory actions may impose additional regulatory burden on Santander Group, including Santander-Chile, in these jurisdictions. The manner in which these laws and related regulations are applied to the operations of financial institutions is still evolving. Moreover, to the extent these recently adopted regulations are implemented inconsistently in the various jurisdictions in which we operate we may face higher compliance costs.

 

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Any legislative or regulatory actions and any required changes to our business operations resulting from such legislation and regulations, as well as any deficiencies in our compliance with such legislation and regulation, could result in significant loss of revenue, limit our ability to pursue business opportunities in which we might otherwise consider engaging and provide certain products and services, affect the value of assets that we hold, require us to increase our prices and therefore reduce demand for our products, impose additional compliance and other costs on us or otherwise adversely affect our businesses. In particular, legislative or regulatory actions resulting in enhanced prudential standards, in particular with respect to capital and liquidity, could impose a significant regulatory burden on the Bank or on its bank subsidiaries and could limit the bank subsidiaries’ ability to distribute capital and liquidity to the Bank, thereby negatively impacting the Bank. Future liquidity standards could require the Bank to maintain a greater proportion of its assets in highly-liquid but lower-yielding financial instruments, which would negatively affect its net interest margin. Moreover, the Bank’s regulatory authorities, as part of their supervisory function, periodically review the Bank’s allowance for loan losses. Such regulators may require the Bank to increase its allowance for loan losses or to recognize further losses. Any such additional provisions for loan losses, as required by these regulatory agencies, whose views may differ from those of the Bank’s management, could have an adverse effect on the Bank’s earnings and financial condition. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that future changes in regulations or in their interpretation or application will not adversely affect us.

 

The wide range of regulations, actions and proposals which most significantly affect the Bank, or which could most significantly affect the Bank in the future, relate to capital requirements, funding and liquidity and regulatory reforms in Chile, and are discussed in further detail below. These and other regulatory reforms adopted or proposed in the wake of the financial crisis have increased and may continue to materially increase our operating costs and negatively impact our business model. Furthermore, regulatory authorities have substantial discretion in how to regulate banks, and this discretion, and the means available to the regulators, have been increasing during recent years. Regulation may be imposed on an ad hoc basis by governments and regulators in response to a crisis. In addition, the volume, granularity, frequency and scale of regulatory and other reporting requirements necessitate a clear data strategy to enable consistent data aggregation, reporting and management. Inadequate management information systems or processes, including those relating to risk data aggregation and risk reporting, could lead to a failure to meet regulatory reporting requirements or other internal or external information demands and we may face supervisory measures as a result.

 

The main regulations and regulatory and governmental oversight that can adversely impact us include but are not limited to the following (see more details on “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Regulation and Supervision”):

 

We are subject to regulation by the SBIF and by the Central Bank with regard to certain matters, including reserve requirements, interest rates, foreign exchange mismatches and market risks. Chilean laws, regulations, policies and interpretations of laws relating to the banking sector and financial institutions are continually evolving and changing. Any new reforms could result in increased competition in the industry and thus may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

Pursuant to the General Banking Law, all Chilean banks may, subject to the approval of the FMC, engage in certain businesses other than commercial banking depending on the risk associated with such business and their financial strength. Such additional businesses include securities brokerage, mutual fund management, securitization, insurance brokerage, leasing, factoring, financial advisory, custody and transportation of securities, loan collection and financial services. The General Banking Law also limits the discretion of the FMC to deny new banking licenses. There can be no assurance that regulators will not in the future impose more restrictive limitations on the activities of banks, including us. Any such change could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.

 

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Historically, Chilean banks have not paid interest on amounts deposited in checking accounts. We have begun to pay interest on some checking accounts under certain conditions. If competition or other factors lead us to pay higher interest rates on checking accounts, to relax the conditions under which we pay interest or to increase the number of checking accounts on which we pay interest, any such change could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.

 

On November 20, 2013, the Chilean Congress approved new legislation to reduce the maximum rates that can be charged on loans. This new legislation is aimed at loans of less than UF50 (U.S.$1,975) and between UF50 and UF200 (U.S.$7,901) and with a term of more than 90 days, and thus includes consumer loans in installments, lines of credit and credit card lines. Previously, the maximum interest rate for loans of less than UF200 and with a term of more than 90 days was calculated as the average rate of all transactions undertaken within the banking industry over the previous month of loans of less than UF200 and with a term of more than 90 days, multiplied by a factor of 1.5. The objective was to lower the maximum rate to a level closer to the average interest rate for loans between UF200 (U.S.$7,901) to UF5,000 (U.S.$197,531) plus 14%, unless the flow of new loans in the industry decreases by 10%-20%, in which case the reduction will be partially or completely suspended until the next period. The average and maximum rates are published daily by the SBIF. By year-end 2018, the maximum rate for loans equal or lower than UF50 (U.S.$1,975) was 35.58%. The maximum rate for loans between UF50 (U.S.$1,975) and UF200 (U.S.$7,901) was 28.58%.

 

In January 2019, the New General Banking Law was passed by the Chilean government. Among other things, the New General Banking Law provides new minimum capital requirements in line with Basel III regulations, new regulations regarding the SBIF’s corporate governance and its absorption by the FMC, FMC and new rules regarding bank liquidation. The rules governing the functioning of Banks and the regulatory oversight of banks will pass from the SBIF to the FMC under the rules of the New General Banking Law. The absorption of the SBIF by the FMC is expected to take place on June 1, 2019.

 

A change in labor laws in Chile or a worsening of labor relations in the Bank could impact our business.

 

As of December 31, 2018, on a consolidated basis, we had 11,305 employees. We have traditionally enjoyed good relations with our employees and their unions. Of the total headcount of us and our subsidiaries, 8,487 or 75.1% were unionized as of December 31, 2018. In February 2018, a new collective bargaining agreement was signed with the main unions ahead of schedule, which became effective on September 1, 2018 and expires on August 31, 2021, though it may also be renegotiated ahead of schedule with the consent of management and the union. We generally apply the terms of our collective bargaining agreement to unionized and non-unionized employees. We have traditionally had good relations with our employees and their unions, but we cannot assure you that in the future, a strengthening of cross-industry labor movements will not materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.

 

Congress passed a new labor law in 2016 that became effective April 1, 2017. The main points included in this law are:

 

Legalizes industry-wide unions.

 

Expands the scope of collective bargaining. Currently some groups of workers are excluded from the collective bargaining process.

 

Gives unions sole collective bargaining rights. Non-union groups can no longer negotiate a collective bargaining agreement.

 

Expands workers ability to switch unions and gives workers the same rights under a collective bargaining agreement if they affiliate themselves post-negotiations.

 

Expands the right to greater information of unions including the wages of each worker included in a collective bargaining agreement.

 

Simplifies the standard collective bargaining process.

 

Collective bargaining agreements must last maximum three years instead of four.

 

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Eliminates the ability of the employer to replace workers on strike and establishes minimum service guidelines that workers must respect.

 

Establishes the current collective bargaining agreement as the bargaining floor for future collective bargaining agreements.

 

Amplifies the matters that can be negotiated in collective bargaining.

 

Increases the hours for training of union representatives.

 

Strengthens the participation of women in unions.

 

The Bank currently has a high unionization level and good labor relations. At this time, we are unable to estimate the impact these new regulations will have on labor relations and costs. The Chilean Congress is currently considering new labor and pension law reforms, which were designed to flexibilize the labor market and to increase employers’ contribution to pension savings. Such new legislation could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operation or financial condition in the future.

 

These and any additional legislative or regulatory actions in Chile, Spain, the European Union, the United States or other countries, and any required changes to our business operations resulting from such legislation and regulations, could result in reduced capital availability, significant loss of revenue, limit our ability to continue organic growth (including increased lending), pursue business opportunities in which we might otherwise consider engaging and provide certain products and services, affect the value of assets that we hold, require us to increase our prices and therefore reduce demand for our products, impose additional costs on us or otherwise adversely affect our businesses. Accordingly, we cannot provide assurance that any such new legislation or regulations would not have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations or financial condition in the future.

 

Our corporate disclosure may differ from disclosure regularly published by issuers of securities in other countries, including the United States.

 

Issuers of securities in Chile are required to make public disclosures that are different from, and that may be reported under presentations that are not consistent with, disclosures required in other countries, including the United States. In particular, as a Chilean regulated financial institution, we are required to submit to the SBIF on a monthly basis unaudited consolidated balance sheets and income statements, excluding any note disclosure, prepared in accordance with Chilean Bank GAAP as issued by the SBIF. This disclosure differs in a number of significant respects from generally accepted accounting principles in the United States and information generally available in the United States with respect to U.S. financial institutions or IFRS. In addition, as a foreign private issuer, we are not subject to the same disclosure requirements in the United States as a domestic U.S. registrant under the Exchange Act, including the requirements to prepare and issue quarterly reports, the proxy rules applicable to domestic U.S. registrants under Section 14 of the Exchange Act or the insider reporting and short-swing profit rules under Section 16 of the Exchange Act. Accordingly, the information about us available to you will not be the same as the information available to shareholders of a U.S. company and may be reported in a manner that you are not familiar with.

 

Chile imposes controls on foreign investment and repatriation of investments that may affect your investment in, and earnings from, our ADSs.

 

Equity investments in Chile by persons who are not Chilean residents have generally been subject to various exchange control regulations, which restrict the repatriation of the investments and earnings therefrom. In April 2001, the Central Bank eliminated the regulations that affected foreign investors, except that investors are still required to provide the Central Bank with information relating to equity investments and conduct such operations within Chile’s Formal Exchange Market. The ADSs are subject to a contract, dated May 17, 1994, among the Depositary, us and the Central Bank (the “Foreign Investment Contract”) that remains in full force and effect. The ADSs continue to be governed by the provisions of the Foreign Investment Contract subject to the regulations in existence prior to April 2001. The Foreign Investment Contract grants the Depositary and the holders of the ADSs access to the Formal Exchange Market, which permits the Depositary to remit dividends it receives from us to the holders of the ADSs. The Foreign Investment Contract also permits ADS holders to repatriate the proceeds from the sale of shares of our common stock withdrawn from the ADR facility, or that have been received free of payment as a consequence of spin offs, mergers, capital increases, wind ups, share dividends or preemptive rights transfers, enabling them to acquire the foreign currency necessary to repatriate earnings from such investments. Pursuant to Chilean law, the Foreign Investment Contract cannot be amended unilaterally by the Central Bank, and there are judicial precedents (although not binding with respect to future judicial decisions) indicating that contracts of this type may not be abrogated by future legislative changes or resolutions of the Advisory Council of the Central Bank. Holders of shares of our common stock, except for shares of our common stock withdrawn from the ADS facility or received in the manner described above, are not entitled to the benefits of the Foreign Investment Contract, may not have access to the Formal Exchange Market, and may have restrictions on their ability to repatriate investments in shares of our common stock and earnings therefrom.

 

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Holders of ADSs are entitled to receive dividends on the underlying shares to the same extent as the holders of shares. Dividends received by holders of ADSs will be paid net of foreign currency exchange fees and expenses of the Depositary and will be subject to Chilean withholding tax, currently imposed at a rate of 35.0% (subject to credits in certain cases). If for any reason, including changes in Chilean law, the Depositary were unable to convert Chilean pesos to U.S. dollars, investors would receive dividends and other distributions, if any, in Chilean pesos.

 

We cannot assure you that additional Chilean restrictions applicable to holders of our ADSs, the disposition of the shares underlying them or the repatriation of the proceeds from such disposition or the payment of dividends will not be imposed in the future, nor can we advise you as to the duration or impact of such restrictions if imposed.

 

Investors may find it difficult to enforce civil liabilities against us or our directors, officers and controlling persons.

 

We are a Chilean corporation. None of our directors are residents of the United States and most of our executive officers reside outside of the United States. In addition, a substantial portion of our assets and the assets of our directors and executive officers are located outside the United States. Although we have appointed an agent for service of process in any action against us in the United States with respect to our ADSs, none of our directors, officers or controlling persons has consented to service of process in the United States or to the jurisdiction of any United States court. As a result, it may be difficult for investors to effect service of process within the United States on such persons.

 

It may also be difficult for ADS holders to enforce in the United States or in Chilean courts money judgments obtained in United States courts against us or our directors and executive officers based on civil liability provisions of the U.S. federal securities laws. If a U.S. court grants a final money judgment in an action based on the civil liability provisions of the federal securities laws of the United States, enforceability of this money judgment in Chile will be subject to the obtaining of the relevant “exequatur” (i.e., recognition and enforcement of the foreign judgment) according to Chilean civil procedure law currently in force, and consequently, subject to the satisfaction of certain factors. The most important of these factors are the existence of reciprocity, the absence of a conflicting judgment by a Chilean court relating to the same parties and arising from the same facts and circumstances and the Chilean courts’ determination that the U.S. courts had jurisdiction, that process was appropriately served on the defendant and that enforcement would not violate Chilean public policy. Failure to satisfy any of such requirements may result in non-enforcement of your rights.

 

Risks Relating to Our Controlling Shareholder and our ADSs

 

Our controlling shareholder has a great deal of influence over our business and its interests could conflict with yours.

 

Santander Spain, our controlling shareholder, controls Santander-Chile through its holdings in Teatinos Siglo XXI Inversiones S.A. and Santander Chile Holding S.A., which are controlled subsidiaries. Santander Spain has control over 67.18% of our shares and actual participation, excluding non-controlling shareholders that participate in Santander Chile Holding, S.A. of 67.12%.

 

Due to its share ownership, our controlling shareholder has the ability to control us and our subsidiaries, including the ability to:

 

elect the majority of the directors and exercise control over our company and subsidiaries;

 

cause the appointment of our principal officers;

 

declare the payment of any dividends;

 

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agree to sell or otherwise transfer its controlling stake in us; and

 

determine the outcome of substantially all actions requiring shareholder approval, including amendments of our by-laws, transactions with related parties, corporate reorganizations, acquisitions and disposals of assets and issuance of additional equity securities, if any.

 

In December 2012, primarily in response to the requirements of the European Banking Authority, the Bank of Spain and regulators in various jurisdictions, Santander Spain adopted a corporate governance framework (Marco de Gobierno Interno del Grupo Santander). The purpose of the framework is to organize and standardize the corporate governance practices of Santander Spain and its most significant subsidiaries, including us. Our Board of Directors approved the adoption of this corporate governance framework in July 2013, subject to certain overarching principles, such as the precedence of applicable laws and regulations over the framework to the extent they are in conflict. See “Item 16G. Corporate Governance.” Our adoption of this framework may increase Santander Spain’s control over us.

 

We operate as a stand-alone subsidiary within the Santander Group. Our controlling shareholder has no liability for our banking operations, except for the amount of its holdings of our capital stock. The interests of Santander Spain may differ from the interests of our other shareholders, and the concentration of control in Santander Spain may differ from the interests of our other shareholders, and the concentration of control in Santander Spain will limit other shareholders’ ability to influence corporate matters. As a result, we may take actions that our other shareholders do not view as beneficial.

 

Our status as a controlled company and a foreign private issuer exempts us from certain of the corporate governance standards of the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”), limiting the protections afforded to investors.

 

We are a “controlled company” and a “foreign private issuer” within the meaning of the NYSE corporate governance standards. Under the NYSE rules, a controlled company is exempt from certain NYSE corporate governance requirements. In addition, a foreign private issuer may elect to comply with the practice of its home country and not to comply with certain NYSE corporate governance requirements, including the requirements that (1) a majority of the board of directors consist of independent directors, (2) a nominating and corporate governance committee be established that is composed entirely of independent directors and has a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities, (3) a compensation committee be established that is composed entirely of independent directors and has a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities and (4) an annual performance evaluation of the nominating and corporate governance and compensation committees be undertaken. Although we have similar practices, they do not entirely conform to the NYSE requirements for U.S. issuers; therefore we currently use these exemptions and intend to continue using them. Accordingly, you will not have the same protections afforded to shareholders of companies that are subject to all NYSE corporate governance requirements.

 

There may be a lack of liquidity and market for our shares and ADSs.

 

Our ADSs are listed and traded on the NYSE (under the ticker “BSAC”). Our common stock is listed and traded on the Santiago Stock Exchange (under the ticker “BSANTANDER”), which we refer to as the Chilean Stock Exchange, although the trading market for the common stock is small by international standards. At December 31, 2018, we had 188,446,126,794 shares of common stock outstanding. The Chilean securities markets are substantially smaller, less liquid and more volatile than major securities markets in the United States. According to Article 14 of the Ley de Mercado de Valores, Ley No. 18,045, or the Chilean Securities Market Law, FMC may suspend the offer, quotation or trading of shares of any company listed on one or more Chilean stock exchanges for up to 30 days if, in its opinion, such suspension is necessary to protect investors or is justified for reasons of public interest. Such suspension may be extended for up to 120 days. If, at the expiration of the extension, the circumstances giving rise to the original suspension have not changed, the FMC will then cancel the relevant listing in the registry of securities. In addition, the Santiago Stock Exchange may inquire as to any movement in the price of any securities in excess of 10% and suspend trading in such securities for a day if it deems necessary.

 

Although our common stock is traded on the Chilean Stock Exchange, there can be no assurance that a liquid trading market for our common stock will continue to exist. Approximately 33.0% of our outstanding common stock is held by the public (i.e., shareholders other than Santander Spain and its affiliates), including our shares that are represented by ADSs trading on the NYSE. A limited trading market in general and our concentrated ownership in particular may impair the ability of an ADS holder to sell in the Chilean market shares of common stock obtained upon withdrawal of such shares from the ADR facility in the amount and at the price and time such holder desires, and could increase the volatility of the price of the ADSs.

 

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You may be unable to exercise preemptive rights.

 

The Ley Sobre Sociedades Anónimas, Ley No. 18,046 and the Reglamento de Sociedades Anónimas, which we refer to collectively as the Chilean Companies Law, and applicable regulations require that whenever we issue new common stock for cash, we grant preemptive rights to all of our shareholders (including holders of ADSs), giving them the right to purchase a sufficient number of shares to maintain their existing ownership percentage. Such an offering would not be possible in the United States unless a registration statement under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”), as amended, were effective with respect to such rights and common stock or an exemption from the registration requirements thereunder were available.

 

Since we are not obligated to make a registration statement available with respect to such rights and the common stock, you may not be able to exercise your preemptive rights in the United States. If a registration statement is not filed or an applicable exemption is not available under U.S. securities law, the Depositary will sell such holders’ preemptive rights and distribute the proceeds thereof if a premium can be recognized over the cost of any such sale.

 

As a holder of ADSs you will have different shareholders’ rights than in the United States and certain other jurisdictions.

 

Our corporate affairs are governed by our estatutos, or by-laws, and the laws of Chile, which may differ from the legal principles that would apply if we were incorporated in a jurisdiction in the United States or in certain other jurisdictions outside Chile. Under Chilean corporate law, you may have fewer and less well-defined rights to protect your interests than under the laws of other jurisdictions outside Chile. For example, under legislation applicable to Chilean banks, our shareholders would not be entitled to appraisal rights in the event of a merger or other business combination undertaken by us.

 

Although Chilean corporate law imposes restrictions on insider trading and price manipulation, the form of these regulations and the manner of their enforcement may differ from that in the U.S. securities markets or markets in certain other jurisdictions. In addition, in Chile, self-dealing and the preservation of shareholder interests may be regulated differently, which could potentially disadvantage you as a holder of the shares underlying ADSs.

 

Holders of ADSs may find it difficult to exercise voting rights at our shareholders’ meetings.

 

Holders of ADSs will not be our direct shareholders and will be unable to enforce directly the rights of shareholders under our by-laws and the laws of Chile. Holders of ADSs may exercise voting rights with respect to the common stock represented by ADSs only in accordance with the deposit agreement governing the ADSs. Holders of ADSs will face practical limitations in exercising their voting rights because of the additional steps involved in our communications with ADS holders. Holders of our common stock will be able to exercise their voting rights by attending a shareholders’ meeting in person or voting by proxy. By contrast, holders of ADSs will receive notice of a shareholders’ meeting by mail from the Depositary following our notice to the Depositary requesting the Depository to do so. To exercise their voting rights, holders of ADSs must instruct the Depositary on a timely basis on how they wish to vote. This voting process necessarily will take longer for holders of ADSs than for holders of our common stock. If the Depositary fails to receive timely voting instructions for all or part of the ADSs, the Depositary will assume that the holders of those ADSs are instructing it to give a discretionary proxy to a person designated by us to vote their ADSs, except in limited circumstances.

 

Holders of ADSs also may not receive the voting materials in time to instruct the Depositary to vote the common stock underlying their ADSs. In addition, the Depositary and its agents are not responsible for failing to carry out voting instructions of the holders of ADSs or for the manner of carrying out those voting instructions. Accordingly, holders of ADSs may not be able to exercise voting rights, and they will have little, if any, recourse if the common stocks underlying their ADSs are not voted as requested.

 

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ADS holders may be subject to additional risks related to holding ADSs rather than shares.

 

Because ADS holders do not hold their shares directly, they are subject to the following additional risks, among others:

 

as an ADS holder, you may not be able to exercise the same shareholder rights as a direct holder of ordinary shares;

 

we and the Depositary may amend or terminate the deposit agreement without the ADS holders’ consent in a manner that could prejudice ADS holders or that could affect the ability of ADS holders to transfer ADSs; and

 

the Depositary may take or be required to take actions under the Deposit Agreement that may have adverse consequences for some ADS holders in their particular circumstances.

 

ITEM 4. INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

 

A. History and Development of the Company

 

Overview

 

We are the largest bank in the Chilean market in terms of total assets and loans. As of December 31, 2018, we had total assets of Ch$39,132,512 million (U.S.$56,083 million), outstanding loans at amortized cost, net of allowances for loan losses of Ch$ 29,331,001 million (U.S.$42,036 million), total deposits of Ch$21,809,236 million (U.S.$ 31,256 million) and equity of Ch$3,245,459 million (U.S.$4,652 million). As of December 31, 2018, we employed 11,305 people. We have a leading presence in all the major business segments in Chile, and a large distribution network with national coverage spanning across all the country. We offer unique transaction capabilities to clients through our 380 branches and 910 ATMs. Our headquarters are located in Santiago and we operate in every major region of Chile.

 

We provide a broad range of commercial and retail banking services to our customers, including Chilean peso and foreign currency denominated loans to finance a variety of commercial transactions, trade, foreign currency forward contracts and credit lines and a variety of retail banking services, including mortgage financing. We seek to offer our customers a wide range of products while providing high levels of service. In addition to our traditional banking operations, we offer a variety of financial services, including financial leasing, financial advisory services, mutual fund management, securities brokerage, insurance brokerage and investment management.

 

The legal predecessor of Santander-Chile was Banco Santiago (“Santiago”). Old Santander-Chile was established as a subsidiary of Santander Spain in 1978. On August 1, 2002, Santiago and Old Santander Chile merged, whereby the latter ceased to exist and Santander-Chile (formerly known as Santiago) being the surviving entity.

 

Our principal executive offices are located at Bandera 140, 20th floor, Santiago, Chile. Our telephone number is +562-320-2000 and our website is www.santander.cl. None of the information contained on our website is incorporated by reference into, or forms part of, this Annual Report. Our agent for service of process in the United States is Puglisi & Associates, 850 Library Ave., Suite 204, Newark, DE  19711. The SEC maintains a website on the Internet at http://www.sec.gov that contains reports and information statements and other information about us. The reports (including this annual report) and information statements and other information about us can be downloaded from the SEC’s website www.sec.gov website or our investor relations website www.santandercl.gcs-web.com. None of the information contained on our website, or any website referred to in this Annual Report, is incorporated by reference into, or forms part of, this Annual Report.

 

Relationship with Santander Spain

 

We believe that our relationship with our controlling shareholder, Santander Spain, offers us a significant competitive advantage over our peer Chilean banks. Santander Spain, our parent company, is one of the largest financial groups in Brazil and the rest of Latin America, in terms of total assets measured on a regional basis. It is the largest financial group in Spain and is a major player elsewhere in Europe, including the United Kingdom, Poland and Portugal, where it is the third-largest banking group. Through Santander Consumer, it also operates a leading consumer finance franchise in the United States, as well as in Germany, Italy, Spain, and several other European countries.

 

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Our relationship with Santander Spain provides us with access to the group’s client base, while its multinational focus allows us to offer international solutions to our clients’ financial needs. We also have the benefit of selectively borrowing from Santander Spain’s product offerings in other countries, as well as of its know-how in systems management. We believe that our relationship with Santander Spain will also enhance our ability to manage credit and market risks by adopting policies and knowledge developed by Santander Spain. In addition, our internal auditing function has been strengthened as a result of the addition of an internal auditing department that concurrently reports directly to our Audit Committee and the audit committee of Santander Spain. We believe that this structure leads to improved monitoring and control of our exposure to operational risks.

 

Santander Spain’s support of Santander-Chile includes the assignment of managerial personnel to key supervisory areas of Santander-Chile, such as risks, auditing, accounting and financial control. Santander-Chile does not pay any management fees to Santander Spain in connection with these support services.

 

B. Business Overview

 

We have 380 total branches, 266 of which are operated under the Santander brand name, with the remaining branches under certain specialty brand names, including 46 under the Select brand name, 7 specialized branches for the Middle Market and 21 as auxiliary and payment centers. During 2018, we also opened 20 Santander Workcafés, reaching a total of 40 Workcafés across all regions of Chile. We provide a full range of financial services to corporate and individual customers. We divide our clients into the following groups: (i) Retail banking, (ii) Middle-market, (iii) Corporate Investment Banking and (iv) Corporate Activities (“Other”).

 

The Bank has the reportable segments noted below (see “Segmentation Criteria” for further information):

 

Retail Banking

 

Consists of individuals and small to medium-sized entities (SMEs) with annual sales less than Ch$1,200 million (U.S.$1.7 million). This segment gives customers a variety of services, including consumer loans, credit cards, auto loans, commercial loans, foreign exchange, mortgage loans, debit cards, checking accounts, savings products, mutual funds, stock brokerage, and insurance brokerage. Additionally, the SME clients are offered government-guaranteed loans, leasing and factoring.

 

Middle-market

 

This segment serves companies and large corporations with annual sales exceeding Ch$1,200 million (U.S.$1.7 million). It also serves institutions such as universities, government entities, local and regional governments and companies engaged in the real estate industry who carry out projects to sell properties to third parties and annual sales exceeding Ch$800 million (U.S.$1.1 million) with no upper limit. The companies within this segment have access to many products including commercial loans, leasing, factoring, foreign trade, credit cards, mortgage loans, checking accounts, transactional services, treasury services, financial consulting, savings products, mutual funds, and insurance brokerage. Also, companies in the real estate industry are offered specialized services to finance projects, chiefly residential, with the aim of expanding sales of mortgage loans.

 

Corporate Investment Banking

 

This segment consists of foreign and domestic multinational companies with sales over Ch$10,000 million (U.S.$14.3 million). The companies within this segment have access to many products including commercial loans, leasing, factoring, foreign trade, credit cards, mortgage loans, checking accounts, transactional services, treasury services, financial consulting, investments, savings products, mutual funds and insurance brokerage.

 

This segment also consists of a Treasury Division which provides sophisticated financial products, mainly to companies in the Middle-market segment and Corporate Investment Banking. These include products such as short-term financing and fund raising, brokerage services, derivatives, securitization and other tailor-made products. The Treasury Division may act as broker to transactions and also manages the Bank’s trading fixed income portfolio.

 

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Corporate Activities (“Other”)

 

This segment mainly includes our Financial Management Division, which develops global management functions, including managing inflation rate risk, foreign currency gaps, interest rate risk and liquidity risk. Liquidity risk is managed mainly through wholesale deposits, debt issuances and the Bank’s available-for-sale portfolio. This segment also manages capital allocation by unit. These activities usually result in a negative contribution to income.

 

In addition, this segment encompasses all the intra-segment income and all the activities not assigned to a given segment or product with customers.

 

The segments’ accounting policies are those described in the summary of accounting policies. The Bank earns most of its income in the form of interest income, fee and commission income and income from financial operations. To evaluate a segment’s financial performance and make decisions regarding the resources to be assigned to segments, the Chief Operating Decision Maker (CODM) bases his or her assessment on the segment’s interest income, fee and commission income, and expenses.

 

The tables below show the Bank’s results by reporting segment for the year ended December 31, 2018, in addition to the corresponding balances of loans and accounts receivable from customers:

 

      For the year ended December 31, 2018
  

Loans and accounts receivable at amortized

(1)

  Net interest income  Net fee and commission income 

 

Financial transactions, net

(2)

  Provision for loan losses 

Support expenses

(3)

  Segment`s
net contribution
   (in millions of Ch$)
                      
Retail Banking   20,786,637    949,764    220,532    19,694    (287,739)   (553,157)   349,094 
Middle-market   7,690,380    272,912    36,746    16,848    (26,314)   (92,377)   207,815 
Corporate Investment Banking   1,613,088    96,722    35,064    57,340    2,339    (64,913)   126,552 
Other   123,309    94,970    (1,457)   11,200    (5.694)   (11,486)   87,533 
Total   30,213,414    1,414,368    290,885    105,082    (317,408)   (721,933)   770,994 
                                    
Other operating income                                 23,129 
Other operating expenses and impairment                                 (32,381)
Income from investments in associates and other companies                                 5,095 
Income tax expense                                 (167,144)
Net income for the year                                 599,693 

(1) Corresponds to loans and accounts receivable at amortized cost under IFRS 9, without deducting their allowances for loan losses. 

(2) Corresponds to the sum of the net income from financial operations and the foreign exchange profit or loss. 

(3) Corresponds to the sum of personnel salaries and expenses, administrative expenses, depreciation and amortization.

 

Operations through Subsidiaries

 

Today, the General Banking Law permits us to directly provide the leasing and financial advisory services that we could formerly offer only through our subsidiaries, to offer investment advisory services outside of Chile and to undertake activities that we could not formerly offer directly or through subsidiaries, such as factoring, securitization, foreign investment funds, custody and transport of securities and insurance brokerage services. For the twelve–month period ended December 31, 2018, our subsidiaries collectively accounted for 0.6% of our total consolidated assets.

 

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      Percent ownership share as of December 31,
      2018  2017  2016
Name of the Subsidiary  Main activity  Direct  Indirect  Total  Direct  Indirect  Total  Direct  Indirect  Total
       %    %    %    %    %    %    %    %    % 
Santander Corredora de Seguros Limitada  Insurance brokerage   99.75    0.01    99.76    99.75    0.01    99.76    99.75    0.01    99.76 
Santander Corredores de Bolsa Limitada  Financial instruments brokerage   50.59    0.41    51.00    50.59    0.41    51.00    50.59    0.41    51.00 
Santander Agente de Valores Limitada(*)  Securities brokerage   99.03        99.03    99.03        99.03    99.03        99.03 
Santander S.A. Sociedad Securitizadora  Purchase of credits and issuance of debt instruments   99.64        99.64    99.64        99.64    99.64        

99.64 

 

  

 

(*) On July 25, 2018, this company ceased conducting foreign currency purchase and sale operations, which are now carried out directly by the Bank.

 

The following companies have been consolidated based on the determination that they are controlled by the Bank, in accordance with IFRS 10 Consolidated Financial Statements:

 

Santander Gestión de Recaudación y Cobranza Limitada (collection services)

Bansa Santander S.A. (management of repossessed assets and leasing of properties)

 

In September 2017, Bansa Santander S.A. celebrated a legal cession of rights, which generated an income of Ch$20,663 million before tax (Ch$15,197 million net of taxes).

 

The Bank also has significant influence over the following entities:

 

         Percentage of  ownership share
         As of December 31,
      Place of  2018   2017   2016 
Associates  Main activity  Incorporation
and operation
  %   %   % 
Redbanc S.A.  ATM services  Santiago, Chile   33.43    33.43    33.43 
Transbank S.A. (1)  Debit and credit card services  Santiago, Chile   25.00    25.00    25.00 
Centro de Compensación Automatizado  Electronic fund transfer and compensation services  Santiago, Chile   33.33    33.33    33.33 
Sociedad Interbancaria de Depósito de Valores S.A.  Delivery of securities on public offer  Santiago, Chile   29.29    29.29    29.29 
Cámara Compensación de Alto Valor S.A.  Payments clearing  Santiago, Chile   15.00    15.00    14.93 
Administrador Financiero del Transantiago S.A.  Administration of boarding passes to public transportation  Santiago, Chile   20.00    20.00    20.00 
Sociedad Nexus S.A.  Credit card processor  Santiago, Chile   12.90    12.90    12.90 
Servicios de Infraestructura de Mercado OTC S.A.  Administration of the infrastructure for the financial market of derivative instruments  Santiago, Chile   12.48    12.48    12.07 

(1) The Bank has given a mandate to a third party to exercise the Bank’s rights as a shareholder in Transbank.

 

Significant influence is defined here as the power to participate in the financial and operating policy decisions of the investee without exercising control, whether singularly or jointly, over such policies. An investment in an associate is accounted for using the equity method from the date on which the investee becomes an associate.

 

As of December 18, 2018, the Bank announced the decision to sell its investment in Transbank S.A. The expected date of completion of the sale is still to be determined.

 

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Competition

 

Overview

 

The Chilean financial services market consists of a variety of largely distinct sectors. The most important sector, commercial banking, includes a number of privately-owned banks and one public-sector bank, Banco del Estado de Chile (which operates within the same legal and regulatory framework as the private sector banks). The private-sector banks include local banks and a number of foreign-owned banks operating in Chile. The Chilean banking system is comprised of 19 banks, including one public-sector bank. The six largest banks accounted for 87.5% of all outstanding loans by Chilean financial institutions as of December 31, 2018 (excluding assets held abroad by Chilean banks). In July 2018, Scotiabank Chile acquired BBVA Chile, becoming the third largest bank in terms of loans in the Chilean market.

 

The Chilean banking system has experienced increased competition in recent years, largely due to consolidation in the industry and new legislation. We also face competition from non-bank and non-finance competitors, principally department stores, credit unions and cajas de compensación (private, non-profitable corporations whose aim is to administer social welfare benefits, including payroll loans, to their members) with respect to some of our credit products, such as credit cards, consumer loans and insurance brokerage. In addition, we face competition from non-bank finance competitors, such as leasing, factoring and automobile finance companies, with respect to credit products, and mutual funds, pension funds and insurance companies, with respect to savings products. Currently, banks continue to be the main suppliers of leasing, factoring and mutual funds, and the insurance sales business has grown rapidly.

 

All the competition data in the following sections is based on Chilean Bank GAAP.

 

The following tables set out certain statistics comparing our market position to that of our peer group, defined as the five largest banks in Chile in terms of total loans as of December 31, 2018 (excluding assets held by Chilean banks abroad).

 

   As of December 31, 2018,
unless otherwise noted
 
   Market Share   Rank 
Commercial loans    16.9%   2 
Consumer loans    19.6%   1 
Residential mortgage loans    21.1%   1 
Total loans    18.6%   1 
Deposits    17.9%   2 
Credit card issued (1)    15.6%   1 
Checking accounts (1)    21.3%   1 
Branches    18.1%   3 

 

Source: SBIF

 

(1)As of November 2018, according to the latest publically available information

 

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Loans

 

As of December 31, 2018, our loan portfolio was the largest among Chilean banks. Our loan portfolio, including interbank loans, represented 18.6% of the market for loans in the Chilean financial system as of such date. The following table sets forth our and our peer group’s market shares in terms of loans (excluding assets held by Chilean banks abroad).

 

   As of December 31, 2018
(Chilean Bank GAAP)
 
Loans  Ch$ million   U.S.$ million   Market
Share
 
Santander-Chile    30,282,023    43,399    18.6%
Banco de Chile    28,308,887    40,571    17.4%
Scotiabank Chile    22,826,129    32,713    14.0%
Banco del Estado de Chile    22,667,427    32,486    13.9%
Banco de Crédito e Inversiones    22,200,629    31,817    13.6%
Itaú Corpbanca    16,273,212    23,322    10.0%
Others    20,510,612    29,395    12.6%
Chilean financial system    163,068,919    233,703    100.0%

 

 

Source: SBIF.

 

Deposits

 

We had a 17.9% market share in deposits, ranking second among banks in Chile as of December 31, 2018. Deposit market share is based on total time and demand deposits as of the respective dates. The following table sets forth our and our peer group’s market shares in terms of deposits (excluding assets held by Chilean banks abroad).

 

   As of December 31, 2018
(Chilean Bank GAAP)
 
Deposits  Ch$ million   U.S.$ million   Market Share 
Banco del Estado de Chile    22,713,927    32,553    18.7%
Santander-Chile    21,809,236    31,256    17.9%
Banco de Chile    20,240,662    29,008    16.6%
Banco de Crédito e Inversiones    15,612,197    22,375&nbs