Speech by Banco Santander Luís Isasi

22 November 2021

Remarks by Luis Isasi, President of Banco Santander España at the virtual ceremony awarding the 20th edition of the German Bernacer Prize to Ralph Koijen.


Vice-president of the European Central Bank,
Gobernador del Banco de España,
Chairman of the ECB Observatory
Doctor Ralph Koijen
Good afternoon to all.

I’m delighted to join you today on behalf of Banco Santander. We are honoured to sponsor this award.

Once again, we are delivering the prize virtually. But this prize is as real as ever. It is a concrete recognition of excellence in economic research.

I’d like to start by congratulating the 2021 winner, Doctor Ralph Koijen, who is here with his family.

The Selection Committee chose Dr Koijen for his influential and extensive research on very salient financial topics. Especially in asset pricing, market movements and insurance.

As we have seen in the seminar that preceded this ceremony, Dr. Koijen’s research focuses on real financial problems, on the challenges financial institutions face nowadays and on the risks that could affect financial stability.

He has studied how low interest rates interact with equity and real estate prices, one of the key questions facing financial institutions and monetary authorities today.

Another area of Dr. Koijen’s research is the impact of demand on asset prices and how some major investors can make a great impact on companies’ valuation. This shed light on elements such as interlinkages between financial actors (e.g. banks and non-bank financial intermediaries).

As a universal bank that focuses on risk management and values financial stability, we will continue to follow Dr Koijen’s research very closely.

Santander’s support of academic research and of this prize reflects our purpose – to help people and businesses prosper.

We believe education is the greatest social driver.

That is why Santander invests more in education than any other company in the world, We firmly believe that continued learning and quality education are the key to building a fairer, more inclusive, productive, and prosperous society, and better able to provide for the well-being of all.

  • Since the creation of Santander Universidades, we have invested more than 2 billion euros in the programme. And…
  • more than 630,000 students, entrepreneurs and SMEs have benefited from it.

In these testing times, if we all contribute, we shall overcome the challenges we face. Now is the time to work together and build a better future.

And getting to know the work of such young and talented researchers such as Ralph Koijen makes me more optimistic.

Research from academia can provide policy makers with better tools to make their decisions.

We have today with us two persons, vice-president de Guindos and Governor Hernández de Cos, who are facing decisions in the areas of Dr Koijen’s research. They also had a leading role in the successful management of the pandemic for the financial sector. From the ECB and Bank of Spain, they have helped to provide a rapid, coordinated and effective monetary and regulatory response to the pandemic’s economic disruption.

I would like to add that the European banking sector is more solid now than it was before the pandemic (measured in terms of capital, liquidity or NPLs). It is true that the crisis is not over yet and that the economy now faces new challenges as inflation picks up and supply chains are affected by covid disruption. We shall be closely following the evolution of our portfolios as economic support measures are gradually removed in the different countries and as fiscal and monetary policies gradually normalize.

However, we are quite confident that banks are prepared to face this situation while supporting the private sector in the economic recovery.

As we navigate the challenges that await us, banks and authorities alike will benefit from research such as Dr Koijen’s, that shed light on the choices that we face and their consequences.

Thank you very much once again to the Observatory and his chair Guillermo for giving visibility to this work, as well as to Governor Hernández de Cos and Vice-President.