The Global Economic Forum, which starts January 22nd in Davos, Switzerland, will unite the world’s political and economic elite. Yet the U.S. President, French President and British Prime Minister will not be in attendance. The organizers say this event is taking place at a crucial moment of transformative change.
10 Jan 2019
The 49th World Economic Forum, known as the Davos Forum, is set to begin on January 22 in the Swiss district of Davos-Klosters. For four days politicians, businessmen, and representatives from social and cultural organizations will gather to discuss global problems and identify solutions. This year, the forum will place special emphasis on international collaboration, giving the world a voice.
26 Dec 2018
Francisco González was greeted warmly by the auditorium at Ciudad BBVA in Madrid where he was bid farewell with applause and a standing ovation. The bank’s executive chairman was interviewed by his successor, Carlos Torres Vila, in a memorable conversation that the Group employees could follow from more than 30 countries. After 22 years at the helm of the bank that has become BBVA, Francisco González declared that “with much effort,” the legacy he leaves behind is “a bank in solid financial shape, an extraordinary project, and an absolutely exceptional team.”
17 Dec 2018
Speaking at the Rome Investment Forum, José Manuel González-Páramo weighted on the future of three key projects for the European Union: the banking union, the capital markets union and the fiscal union. This discussion took place at a key moment for the European bloc, after the meetings held in the last Eurogroup, in the Ecofin and the European Council. “During this year 2018 there has been a window of opportunity, which has clearly been missed by Europe to implement the necessary reforms,” he noted.
14 Dec 2018
If December is the month with the highest sales for traditional shopping, for the last two years November has become the star of Internet shopping. The recent phenomenon of Black Friday brings forward by one month the arrival of Christmas to online shopping, according to a study by BBVA Data & Analytics and BBVA Research.
13 Dec 2018
The world has recently taken a turn toward trade protectionism. Given this situation, at a forum in Madrid, BBVA Executive Board Member José Manuel González-Páramo proposed committing to multilateralism through the World Trade Organization. He expects “Europe to play a relevant role” in this movement. These efforts are essential, he maintained, because protectionism threatens global growth.
12 Dec 2018
Carlos Torres Vila took part in the ‘14th Banking Industry Meeting’ organized by IESE and EY in Madrid. BBVA’s CEO spoke about how digital transformation reflects on the outside, but originates inside organizations. In the current environment, he believes that banks need to harness the potential of new technologies to create opportunities for their customers. “We think big, not only in the sense of being ambitious, but of being innovative, breaking molds and surprising the customer,” he said.
11 Dec 2018
BBVA customers can now use an app that predicts their future income and expenses (Bconomy). Now, BBVA has developed —together with Google Cloud— an artificial intelligence model that would allow them to improve the accuracy of predictions. This model is explained in a white paper that also offers users recommendations on ways to protect the privacy of their data.
10 Dec 2018
How will banks be impacted by big tech (Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc.) entering the financial services industry? Can regulation promote a level playing field? These are some of the questions raised at the “Big Tech Banking” event organized by CUNEF (University of Financial Studies) and the Spanish Banking Association (AEB). BBVA joined financial experts and regulators participating in the event, where a common thought prevailed: data will play a key role in the battle between banks and Big Tech.
05 Dec 2018
A group of prominent innovation leaders and experts gathered recently in Paris to attend the Innovation Leaders Summit, organized by the MIT Technology Review. BBVA’s was the only major bank to take part as speaker at the event. Here, it debated on current topics, such as the role of blockchain in the emerging tokenized economy and the security challenges posed by quantum computing.
28 Nov 2018
BBVA’s Group Executive Chairman took part in a seminar organized by Spanish newspaper ABC on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Spanish Constitution. In this four decades “Spain has become a consolidated democracy and from an economic standpoint, it has made great strides,” said Francisco González. “What has taken place in Spain over the last 40 years has been amazing”
27 Nov 2018
Flora Egea is BBVA’s Data Protection Officer (DPO). She has a critical assignment in her hands: to ensure that BBVA complies with Europe’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which has revolutionized the way companies handle personal data. On the six month anniversary of its implementation, she believes the legislation has raised awareness among the general public about the need to protect their personal data, but there is still work to be done. In her opinion, GDPR is a positive step and positions Europe as a world leader given its unique treatment of data as a fundamental right.
23 Nov 2018
The Financial Stability Board (FSB) recently published its list of Global Systemically Important Banks, or G-SIB. A BBVA Research paper takes a look at the three key changes in this year’s list compared to the 2017 list: on the one hand, two banks exit the list and one is included, while, two banks have been shifted to a lower bucket.
20 Nov 2018
BBVA is one of the first five banks invited to join a blockchain forum organized by the European Commission (EC) in Brussels to, subsequently, join the launch of the IATBA, an European platform to promote the use of blockchain. The purpose of this publicly-sponsored initiative is to garner support from private blockchain and DLT experts to contribute to outline the EU’s strategy regarding these technologies.
08 Nov 2018
The European Banking Authority (EBA) has just released its work programme for next year. Understanding the risks and opportunities arising from financial innovation and a better handling of data are some of the priorities the institution has outlined for 2019.
06 Nov 2018
The barriers keeping SMEs away from funding were one of the pivotal topics of the SME Finance Forum, held this week in Madrid. José Manuel González-Páramo analyzed how to improve access to financing for many micro, small and medium sized enterprises, as well as the regulatory framework for both banking and alternative funding sources, “We need to eliminate barriers for SMEs’ to widen their funding sources,” he underscored.
30 Oct 2018
At a press conference Carlos Torres Vila released BBVA’s earnings for the January-September 2018 period. The forthcoming decision on who should pay the levy on documenting mortgages loans – banks or the customers – which is due to be made by Spain’s Supreme Court on November 5, was raised during the presentation. In regard to the possibility of the ruling being retroactive, he stated “You can’t penalize those who have followed the law. This is precisely what the principle of legal certainty embodies, which protects us all.”
BBVA today presented its earnings for the January-September 2018 period. What stands out in the bank’s quarterly financials? In the words of BBVA CEO Carlos Torres Vila: “In spite of a challenging situation in Turkey and Argentina, the results we are presenting today reveal the strength of our business model and geographic diversification.”
22 Oct 2018
This week, Spanish newspaper El Español will honor Francisco González’s professional career with a Los Leones award. On the occasion of the award, the current BBVA Group Executive Chairman sat down for an interview with the online newspaper to discuss the present and future challenges facing the banking industry at large, and his bank in particular, including his retirement from office, scheduled to take place on December 31, 2018. At BBVA “we’re creating a new bank,” he says. Now the institution customers are more satisfied, more likely to recommend the bank and more loyal.
18 Oct 2018
With investments on artificial intelligence expected to reach €10 billion by 2020, it is evident that the financial sector is very optimistic about these technologies. However, the level of uncertainty surrounding AI remains almost too high to justify this degree of enthusiasm. In a recently published paper, the World Economic Forum warns about how overhyped misconceptions of what AI really is and what it can deliver may undermine the potential benefits derived from the use of artificial intelligence in finance. In contrast with this vision, other experts concur that AI contributes more to prevent and mitigate risks than to generate them.
13 Oct 2018
José Manuel González-Páramo on Saturday took part in the annual meeting of the Institute for International Finance (IIF) in Bali held in parallel with the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank. He called for a regulatory framework that treats all market participants equally by establishing a level playing field: “Activities with the same risks should receive the same regulatory treatment” without unnecessary barriers to competition, he said.
08 Oct 2018
José Manuel González-Páramo called for Europe to move forward now, not “just when there’s a crisis”, and to conclude the banking union, the capital markets union and the fiscal union to have a “much more robust and genuine euro.” Speaking at the Círculo de Economía in Barcelona, he stressed the role that the ECB played in Europe’s recovery. However, the bank must now go back to its original purpose of “contributing to financial stability and separating supervision from monetary policy.”
05 Oct 2018
Buenos Aires is currently welcoming the annual summit of the B20, or Business 20, as part of the Argentinian presidency of the G20 in 2018. Over 1,500 representatives of the business community have gathered in the Argentine capital to put forward their recommendations to the world’s main leaders.
01 Oct 2018
After announcing that he will be stepping down as BBVA Group Executive Chairman, which is set to take place at the end of December, Francisco González granted an interview to Spanish newspaper El Mundo. During the interview he went over his almost 18 year tenure at the helm of the bank, but mostly spoke about the future. Francisco González leaves a bank set for “huge success” in the new digital scenario, managed according to clear principles, by the best possible leader, Carlos Torres Vila.
27 Sep 2018
The European Banking Authority (EBA) has launched its European banking transparency exercise for 2018. This is the fifth time the European supervisor has carried out this probe of the banks in the euro area. It will reveal its findings of 130 banks covering 900,000 data points in December.
25 Sep 2018
The Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) has been scrutinizing EU banks’ business and profitability models since 2016. Among the findings of the review, published in a report, the supervisor shines the spotlight on the factors that undermine bank profitability, as well as the levers that can help boost it, including digitization. However, the report argues that offering digital products is not enough. Banks need to prepare their platforms to migrate from the analogue to the digital world.
20 Sep 2018
After the hike in interest rates by the Central Bank of Turkey on September 13 (625 basis points from 17.75 percent to 24 percent), the Turkish government today (Thursday) unveiled a new economic program for the next three years (2019-2021). BBVA Research in a report released Thursday believes that both monetary policy and fiscal policy are now better geared toward correcting inflation and the imbalances of the Turkish economy.
17 Sep 2018
The European Central Bank unveiled today the new €100 and €200 notes, which will be introduced in May 28, 2019. These notes complete the Europe series, the second since the introduction of the euro. The new notes, featuring security components that make them harder to counterfeit, are the highest-value denominations after the phase out of the €500 note.
As widely expected, the ECB concluded its monetary policy meeting yesterday without making any changes to its monetary policy stance. As BBVA Research’s ECB Watch report notes, there were other key takeaways that came out of the meeting, such as the end of the Asset Purchase Programming, and the confirmation that the bank is in no rush to hike interest rates. From an economic standpoint, the institution affirmed its inflation outlook but slightly lowered its growth expectations for the euro zone.
13 Sep 2018
The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CRBT) decided today to raise the official interest rate by 625 basis points from 17.75 percent to 24 percent. As a BBVA Research report points out, the hike came in above market expectations (21 percent according to Bloomberg consensus estimates), and BBVA Research’s own forecast (22.75 percent). BBVA Research welcomes the move and believes it should be backed up by a medium-term coherent and detailed fiscal plan.
06 Sep 2018
Blockchain is one of the most disruptive new technologies in the world of finance. But currently its use in the sector is focused mainly on the underlying technology – Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)- to create applications or redesign processes rather than in creating cryptoassets. The reason? Blockchain applications have the potential to improve the efficiency, transparency and traceability of processes while cryptoassets are volatile.
13 Aug 2018
In a context marked by a loss of confidence in digital companies such as Facebook because of their handling of data who can users trust their information with? A report by the Institute of International Finance (IIF) studies the role of banks in this new scenario and goes over their strategies, their strengths and their commitment to protecting the data of their customers.
06 Aug 2018
The European Central Bank in 2018 began the turnover process in a number of key posts on its Executive Board. The crux will be the end of Mario Draghi’s term in office in October 2019 amid doubts about whether his departure will coincide with a hike in interest rates expected between the summer and the fall of next year.
03 Aug 2018
Spain has just become one of the few countries in the European Union with a concrete proposal for launching a regulatory sandbox. The goal? To create a space for experimentation, temporarily unencumbered by regulatory measures, to promote innovation in the financial sector. In doing so, Spain thus has stolen a march on other countries in this area, with a proposed law that appeals to both the traditional financial industry and new fintech startups. Álvaro Martín, Chief Economist for Digital Regulation and Trends at BBVA Research helps us understand how it will function and if it benefits the consumer.
27 Jul 2018
In the presentation of its results to the media, BBVA’s CEO Carlos Torres Vila emphasized the bank’s “strong push to business digitization not only drives sales but is fundamental to cost control.” This “digital push” is driving total revenues while keeping costs down. As a whole, this allows efficiency to continue to improve. In fact, the efficiency ratio stood at 49.2 percent as of June, 82 basis points below the figure for 2017 at constant exchange rates.
BBVA today released its second quarter 2018 financial results. What were the key figures? To begin with, the bank is close to meeting its goal of having 50 percent of its total customer base made up of digital customers. Customer digitization drives sales through digital channels, propels total sales and improves efficiency. BBVA CEO Carlos Torres Vila said, “We were off to a very good start of 2018 last quarter, and this quarter we’ve managed to achieve some excellent results.”
25 Jul 2018
Answering this question is not easy. Academics and financial industry representatives met to discuss whether it would be appropriate for central banks to issue digital currencies. In the forum, BBVA executive board member, José Manuel González-Páramo, indicated that he believes it is probable that central banks will issue cryptocurrencies in the years ahead. Future advances in blockchain technology will open the way to its use by financial authorities.
16 Jul 2018
Investment in infrastructure is crucial for sustainable growth and development inclusion. However, in Latin America there is a gap between supply and demand for such projects, both in terms of physical and digital infrastructure. To offset this lack of investment, private financing needs to be encouraged.
13 Jul 2018
Banks have clearly opted for financial technology, or fintech, to take on their new rivals, be they small startups or internet giants. However, the use of these technologies is more limited than it might appear. According to a study by the European Banking Authority (EBA), currently the majority of banks are focused on two lines of actions: biometrics for the identification and authentication of customers and the launch of mobile payment systems using NFC technology.
12 Jul 2018
In 2015, the ECB launched its Bank’s Integrated Reporting Dictionary, or BIRD, a project ultimately intended to organize the data that it gathers from EU financial institutions for its statistical area. This project is part of a broader strategic approach aimed at improving the system that banks and other players use to report statistics to the European supervisor, known as IReF (Integrated Reporting Framework). BIRD is one of the pivotal milestones in the list of achievements by the Statistical area of the ECB. And just as the rest of the organization, BIRD is celebrating its anniversary.
11 Jul 2018
Europe included cybersecurity as one of its priorities in the European Council meeting in June. Some 69 percent of European companies lack basic knowledge about their exposure to cyberattacks despite 80 percent of them having suffered some type of cyber-incident in the past year. With this in mind, the European Parliamentary Financial Service Forum (EPFSF) organized in the European Parliament a session for cybersecurity experts to suggest ideas to face the risks in the internet.
03 Jul 2018
After the bare minimum agreement on the banking union achieved at the recently held European Council, the debate about the future of Europe continues unabated. With this agreement still fresh, the Bank of Finland invited scholars, representatives of the financial sector and regulators talk about the future of the Old Continent. The experts gathered in Helsinki called for advancing towards a greater banking and capital markets union. The next date in the calendar: The European Council meeting in December.
25 Jun 2018
Over three days experts in finance, fintech and technology debated in Salzburg (Austria) the import of the challenge posed by technology for the economy and the financial sector. The disruption brought on by the massive adoption of new technologies has quickened the pace of change facing institutions. They also face the task of attracting customers in an environment in which there is much more supply.
19 Jun 2018
As the European Central Bank celebrates its 20th anniversary, we take a look back at some of its defining milestones. Not in vain, the ECB has been the guarantor of the euro’s survival and, since 2014, the central axis of the euro area’s financial system. Since the onset of the 2008 financial crisis, the ECB took on a role that was pivotal for a huge part of the recovery. However, “it cannot act alone”: “further strengthening of Europe´s institutional and legal framework is necessary to construct a more united and resilient Europe to face future challenges.”
14 Jun 2018
We are witnessing the birth of a new generation of consumers. The latest generations – “millennials” and “centennials” – and those who are no longer so young but have quickly migrated to the new technologies, are setting the course for the economy in general and for banking in particular. Their new patterns of behavior and consumption create needs that change as quickly as the digital environment. It is essential that banks understand these needs so that they can help their customers make better financial decisions.
13 Jun 2018
Every time Mario Draghi speaks at the news conference after the European Central Bank’s (ECB) monthly monetary policy meeting, the markets hold their breath. And after he finishes, they react. In the wake of the 2008 crisis, the expectations created by the bank’s message have taken on added relevance. BBVA Research is aware of the importance of being able to gauge if the ECB’s message adequately reflects its policy and has used big data techniques to this end.
25 May 2018
In the future, artificial intelligence will, among many other things, allow to develop helpful customer products for unbanked segments of the population. “Artificial intelligence and financial technologies create opportunities for the democratization of finance,” said Álvaro Martín, Head Economist of Digital Regulation and Trends at BBVA Research, during the meeting of the Institute of International Finance (IIF), held in Brussels. In his opinion, “artificial intelligence, big data and cloud computing will boost financial inclusion”.
23 May 2018
José Manuel González-Páramo took part in a panel discussion on the future global financial regulation at the spring meeting of the IIF (Institute for International Finance) in Brussels. In his opinion, the new regulatory framework should be based on five pillars: 1) focus on risks and activities rather than institutions themselves, 2) have an holistic approach, 3) be transversal and coordinated, 4) be flexible y 5) have a skeptical approach to technology with regulators focusing not on technology itself but on its use and effects.
22 May 2018
The European Commission has initiated a review process of the three European Supervisory Authorities (the European Banking Authority, European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority and the European Securities and Markets Authority), known as the ESAs. BBVA took part in a forum in Brussels that debated the present and future of these organizations, together with regulatory authorities and representatives of the financial industry.