The Spanish bank will begin offering loans to over 200,000 small and medium-sized businesses that sell products on eBay in the UK through its financial technology app Astro.
Santander will even have access to eBay's data on sales and cash flow to help it identify prospective customers and strengthen how it decides which businesses will receive loans.
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Astro's chief executive, Sigga Sigurdardóttir explained how the partnership will help SMBs get access to loans faster than by going through traditional channels, saying:
“Working with eBay, Asto will empower small business owners with secure access to funds in a matter of minutes from their phone, versus traditionally several weeks.”
Astro is just one of several in-house startups currently being developed by Santander as part of its four-year, €20bn technology investment plan aimed at fighting back against challengers and large tech firms trying to intrude on banks' business.
Another notable initiative that is part of the firm's strategic plan is a standalone digital bank called OpenBank that began in Spain and is now expanding into Germany with plans to move into the Netherlands and Portugal later this year.
For eBay, its partnership with Santander will help the auction site boost its offerings to sellers as it tries to catch up with Amazon while fending off younger rivals such as Etsy. Amazon currently provides loans to companies that sell on its site while Square and PayPal are also entering the market alongside specialist firms like OnDeck and Funding Circle.
eBay's chief operating officer Paolo Levoni explained how its partnership with Santander will help UK small businesses, saying:
“Our partnership with Asto is designed to help our business sellers efficiently access cash loans to help them expand and manage cash flow — our latest step in helping small businesses in the UK to thrive.”
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