December 26, 2017, Santiago, Banco Santander Chile (NYSE: BSAC, SSE: Bsantander) announced that it has decided to extend its branch hours throughout Chile until 6:00 pm, becoming the only bank in the local market to do so. Traditionally banks in Chile close at 2pm. Tellers will continue operating from 9am to 2pm, but all other client activities will be also available from 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm, except on Fridays.
"We are the only large bank in Chile that will attend in these hours and we do it because our clients value this highly. We have received very positive feedback from WorkCafé branch clients. These branches have been open until 6pm since last year", stated the Director of Retail Banking, Matías Sánchez.
This decision by Santander Chile is part of a plan that involves a series of changes, innovations and openings in the fourth quarter, as the Bank prepares itself for what should be a higher growth period in 2018, especially in retail banking.
In the quarter, the Bank accelerated the WorkCafé opening plan by opening 13 in 4Q17 bringing the total to 20. Another 20 should be opened in 2018.
Additionally, in October of this year, Santander Chile launched its Digital Onboarding platform, whereby non-clients can become clients through the APP or website in a few minutes. The Bank's information systems are now linked to various public databases and, therefore, with a few simple questions the Bank can check a new client's identity, credit history and income level simply using Touch ID technology on a smartphone. These technological developments help to reduce the costs of opening a new account and also assure quick and trustworthy verification of the risk associated with a potential client.
Last week, the Bank launched Santander Life, our new business model for the mass consumer market. This unprecedented initiative represents a new way of relating to the community and customers through a new generation of digital products designed for the mass consumer market that rewards positive credit behavior. The most innovative aspect of Santander Life is the Meritolife Program, the first program in Chile in which a bank rewards clients for positive behavior. As customers meet their financial obligations on time, they accumulate "Merits" that allow them to access exclusive recognitions such as; more interest-free installments, discounts on interest rates, as well as flexibility for the payment of credit installments, among other benefits.
Banco Santander Chile is the largest Bank in Chile in terms of assets and loans. As of September 30, 2017, we had total assets of Ch$35,152,715 million (U.S.$54,999 million), outstanding loans, net of allowances for loan losses of Ch$26,952,564 million (U.S.$42,169 million), total deposits of Ch$19,862,372 million (U.S.$31,076 million) and equity of Ch$3,018,381 million (U.S.$4,722 million). Our headquarters are located in Santiago and we operate in every major region of Chile. Our long-term credit risk rating were Aa3 by Moody's, A Fitch and A Standard & Poor's.
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