SEC gets edgy. Investors get crushed.
On January 23, 2014, the shares of Santander Consumer USA Holdings (SCUSA), the U.S. auto-lending unit of Spain’s largest bank, were launched on the New York stock exchange. For the bank’s Spanish owners and management — in particular the firm’s president and undisputed capo of Spanish banking, Emilio Botín — it was a dream come true, the culmination of decades of rampant international growth and consolidation. Finally, Spain’s biggest bank had made it to the top of the global financial heap.
But the plan has gone awry. Auto-lending in the U.S. is no longer the low-risk, high-growth business it was cracked up to be, Emilio Botín has passed to the other side, and Santander’s American dream, now under the direction of his daughter, Ana Botín, is turning decidedly sour…
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