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Santander to raise dividend, prioritize risk control in US in 2017

Banco Santander SA aims to increase the dividend per share for 2017 by 5% for a second year, the group's Chairman Ana Botín told its annual general meeting April 7.

Botín said the lender will raise the total dividend by 5% and the cash dividend by 8% for 2016, paying a total of 21 euro cents per share. Shareholders have already received three payments, of which two were worth 5.5 cents in cash and another worth 4.5 cents in scrip. The fourth dividend, amounting to 5.5 cents per share in cash, will be paid May 2.

"In 2016, we fulfilled our commitment: we increased the cash dividend per share, profit per share and the tangible value per share. Our plan for 2017 is to further improve them," Botín noted.

According to Botín, the total dividend for 2017 would amount to 22 euro cents per share, with 18 cents paid in cash and the remaining 4 cents in scrip.

CEO José Antonio Álvarez said that the company has made significant progress in complying with U.S. regulatory requirements in 2016. He noted that the lender's two priorities in the U.S. in 2017 are to "improve the risk control and management systems in order to advance in the regulatory agenda and strengthen the franchise."