Carlos Torres Vila, CEO of BBVA, today said the advances in the Group’s transformation “allow us to have a very clear vision of what we are building and has created a momentum that today is unstoppable and which translates into execution and results.” During his speech at the opening of the seminar organized by APIE (The Association of Economic Journalists) and the UIMO (Menéndez Pelayo International University), this year entitled “ The Fourth Revolution: How does the digital agenda affect the economy and industry?” The CEO also stressed that “at BBVA, we have a project, a great opportunity, and everything we do, or don´t do, has to be analyzed in light of the transformation.”
In line with this statement, Carlos Torres Vila recalled that at BBVA, “we already have more than 19 million digital customers and over 13.5 million that use the cell phone as a channel for relations.” These channels are experiencing exponential growth in their sales, which now represent 20% of the total of products sold in the Group, with sales in several countries surpassing 30%; in Spain, they are 25% of the total. “These are impressive figures if one thinks that only three years ago, the contribution of digital sales was practically nil,” Carlos Torres Vila said.
The CEO of BBVA said the bank “uses technology to develop new functionalities each quarter, ones that make our customers’ lives easier.” One clear-cut case that shows how has increased the level of confidence of the banks’ customers is the case of BBVA Wallet. “We were the first bank to offer it more than three years ago and today we have more than eight million downloads in six countries. This is a clear example of anticipation to the benefit of the customer.”
During his speech, the CEO of BBVA explained other advances that show the way the bank has anticipated changes, such as secure e-identification, an effort that has made BBVA the first bank in Spain to offer its customers registration for the service via selfie and videoconference; the work that BBVA has done to adapt systems and processes to the new regulation (GDPR/PSD2) or how the bank is anticipating the new norms that promote access to data. To illustrate this case, Carlos Torres Vila referred to initiatives such as BBVA API Market“which allows companies, startups and developers to launch new products and services, accessing and integrating the bank data of customers in their applications, always with the customers consent.”
For Carlos Torres Vila, the active participation of BBVA in the ecosystem of innovation contributes to the development of the transformation. This participation has allowed the bank to “explore” open innovation initiatives such as Open Talent, in which more than 5,300 startups have already participated; or to“build new businesses inside the bank such as Muno or Trust-u, or associate ourselves with startups like OnDeck or Ripple, or participate in initiatives such as R3 in blockchain,” he said. Additionally, he said,“we have acquired companies such as Simple, Openpay, Holvi, Madiva and Spring Studio and we have invested, through Propel Venture Partners or directly, as in the case of Atom.”
For the CEO of BBVA, the different initiatives that comprise the transformation have a common objective: the customer. “The big opportunity is to go from being providers of infrastructure for money, which is what the industry was doing for centuries, to having a positive impact on peoples’ lives.”
Regulation and the digital agenda
Carlos Torres Vila was accompanied by Álvaro Nadal, the Minister for Energy, Tourism and the Digital Agenda, who also took part in the opening of the seminar.
With respect to the regulatory environment, the CEO of BBVA underscored the importance of the role of the authorities in promoting technological development, such as in the area of data, or the adoption of cloud technologies, by standardizing the criteria among different jurisdictions and supervisors. Carlos Torers Vila also recognized that it is necessary “to create environments for testing products and innovative financial services in the market, without the need to comply on time with all the applicable regulation.” This practice, which is known as creating a regulatory sandbox, already exists in other countries such as the United Kingdom or Holland. Carlos Torres Vila indicated that “Spain could perhaps take it a step further and bring together a broader spectrum of authorities than just the financial ones. In this way, we would be pioneers in the world, with a holistic vision.” He was referring to the integration of authorities with respect to data protection and cyber security, among other matters.