Ana Botín has set a deadline to turn round Banco Santander’s struggling American business as the Spanish lender’s executive chairman seeks to address the issues that made the US its weakest performer last year.

“I have asked investors for two years to fix the US bank,” Ms Botín told the Financial Times. “In two years it will be much better, and we can decide what to do. But it would not be in shareholders’ interests to sell it now.”