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IBOS member Banco Santander and eBay have agreed a lending partnership for small businesses as the two groups attempt to combat competition from tech giants and newer digital rivals.

Asto, a financial technology app owned by the Spanish bank, will start offering loans to the more than 200,000 small and medium-sized businesses that sell products through eBay in the UK later this year.

The company will be able to connect to eBay’s data on measures such as sales and cash flow to identify prospective customers and strengthen its credit decision-making process.

Asto is one of several in-house “start-ups” being developed by Santander as part of a four-year, €20bn technology investment plan designed to fight back against challengers and big technology groups encroaching on banks’ business.

The investments were a key part of the new strategic plan outlined by the lender earlier this year. Other initiatives include Openbank, a standalone digital bank started in Spain that is expanding into Germany, and is set to move into the Netherlands and Portugal later this year.

Read the full article in the Financial Times here