(Corrects Botin's title in lede)
Banco Santander Chairman Emilio Botin told Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto here Thursday that he intends to implement "the most ambitious growth plan of the past 10 years" in that Latin American country.
Botin is in Mexico to meet with Peña Nieto and other senior figures and learn first-hand their perspective on the region's economic situation.
Spain's top banker told Peña Nieto that Santander's Mexican unit will continue to invest in commercial projects and announced that 200 new branch offices will be opened over the next two years.
Grupo Santander's Mexican unit accounted for 12 percent of its global net income last year, while Brazil contributed 26 percent and Spain 15 percent.
In the meeting, Botin recalled that Mexico's economy has grown at an annual clip of around 4 percent in recent years and the current outlook "is very favorable for the country to consolidate itself as a new (economic) power, given the reformist impulses of President Peña Nieto."
During his visit to Mexico, Botin also met with central bank chief Agustin Carstens and Finance Secretary Luis Videgaray.
Santander has invested $7.5 billion in Mexico over the past 15 years, becoming one of the country's top financial institutions with 1,100 branches, some 10 million customers and nearly 13,000 employees.
In his meeting with Peña Nieto, Botin also highlighted the support Santander Mexico is providing small and medium enterprises, noting that financing for that sector rose 76.7 percent in 2012. EFE