The Brunel University London branch of Santander was formally opened on Wednesday 22 March as part of an event to celebrate the university's partnership with the international bank.
Brunel's President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Julia Buckingham joined Javier San Felix, Santander UK's Head of Retail and Business Banking and Deputy CEO, to cut the ribbon, accompanied by branch manager Seema Sahota and staff from both organisations.
The branch is in the heart of Brunel's campus in Uxbridge, serving students and university staff as well as the local community, and opens each weekday – most days until 6pm.
In addition to Santander's high-street offering, Seema and her colleagues, including Personal Banker and Brunel alumnus Harpal Singh Virdee, provide services that have been designed in response to local needs. International staff can benefit from the unique offer of full UK bank accounts, those who have just graduated can enjoy an increased overdraft facility to help with job-hunting, and all those eligible can enjoy exclusive mortgage rates.
In leading her staff's welcome of the branch's opening, Seema said that "we want to make this a hub to deepen relationships for staff and students in any way they need help, support or guidance."
Commenting on the occasion, Professor Julia Buckingham declared: "I'm absolutely delighted that this day has come. Partly because we are celebrating the opening of a new branch of Santander on campus: a wonderful facility for the university. But equally importantly because we have a well-established partnership with Santander, and it's really wonderful to have the opportunity to discuss some of the fantastic things this enables our students to do, which they wouldn't have been able to do without the very generous support."
Santander's partnership with Brunel, which started in 2014, provides match funding for student internships, travel bursaries for placements abroad and a mobility project for widening participation students. The bank also provides mobility scholarships to allow overseas students to come to Brunel to study, and runs the UK-wide Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards.
More than 100 of Brunel's students have benefited from the Santander partnership, valued at more than £300,000 over three years. After the branch opening, several of these students spoke with enthusiasm and gratitude about their experiences made possible by the funding.
Since starting to collaborate with universities worldwide 20 years ago, Santander now has partnerships with nearly 1,200 institutions, and is the world leader in investing the most in corporate social responsibility in connection with education.
Javier San Felix, reflecting on the day's events, said: "I think today portrays the best of what we mean when we say we try to work with and support our communities. Congratulations, Brunel, for your talent and all those experiences and the great programme you have in place, leveraging the support you get from Santander – which we will extend, and we look forward to seeing it growing."
(Image: Javier San Felix and Professor Julia Buckingham jointly cutting the ribbon; branch manager Seema Sahota on the right.)
Joe Buchanunn, Media Relations