Trends | Global Banking

On the surface at least, Spain’s Banco Santander and Cloud storage providers do not appear to have much in common. That is probably why an announcement by the chairman of the bank, Ana Botín, that she plans to sell Cloud storage space to corporate clients was reported only by a few tech publications and was mostly ignored by the financial press, which usually tracks announcements made by the eurozone’s largest bank.

“I can offer the same services as some of these big guys,” Botín told the Financial Times in February, referring to the large Cloud storage providers. She did not reveal any practical details as to what form her offer is likely to take or the time frame she has in mind for rolling it out. A spokesperson for the bank in Madrid confirmed her statement, adding, “It is an incipient project.”

It won’t be the first time a bank has sold Cloud storage to customers. Barclays has offered its customers Cloud storage for financial documents since late 2013. But Santander is actually making the same point that tech giants like Apple have recently made: The difference between data and money is getting thinner by the day.

If Apple can offer payment services on smartphones and nonbanks can provide Web-based peer-to-peer lending, Santander can sell Cloud storage space—the only difference being that Cloud storage does not imply the same level of capital that is required for real loans by banking regulators.

As banks look for ways to boost their business without spending capital, offering such storage solutions and taking advantage of their large investments in data centers may make financial and strategic sense.