What connects a customer who is about to lose two million Mexican pesos (nearly 100,000 euros), soy milk, butterflies, and children who immigrate to the United States? One person. Her name is Amelia Aguilar and she is the manager of a BBVA Bancomer branch in Puebla, Mexico.
Guillermo Pérez, from Coatzacoalcos Veracruz, traveled to Puebla to buy a new home. He took his cards out of his wallet before leaving his house, knowing it can be risky to walk around with them. He couldn’t have imagined that taking that precaution would turn into a nightmare.
When he got to Puebla, he headed to a BBVA Bancomer branch to make a transaction. However, they told him that he needed a checkbook or a card that would prove that he was a bank customer.
Pérez decided to try another branch. That’s how he met Amelia. Even though he couldn’t complete the transaction, he wanted to find a solution. She asked him if he was digital customer and he said yes. She asked him for an ID and wrote a letter requesting an increase of his online transfer limit.
Afterward, Amelia got in touch with Guillermo’s branch and sent the scanned ID and letter. The limit increase was approved shortly before 4 p.m., the deadline to make the payment. They did it in the nick of time.
“The customers are the bank’s, not any given branch’s. I think every single customer is as important as the next, whether they belong to our branch or not. Each one of them plays a small role in ensuring that BBVA continues to work. That’s important,” she said.
It was that customer’s recommendation that made Amelia the winner of the Service Heroes Contest in the Amazing Story category.
" The customers are the bank’s, not any given branch’s;every one of our customers is important "
Children of emigrants
Amelia is one of the volunteers for Por los que se quedan, a BBVA Bancomer Foundation project that has already awarded nearly 50,000 scholarships to secondary students since 2006 and 10,000 prep-school students since 2013. The objective is to reduce the dropout rate among children who perform well in school but lack resources. The program provides monthly economic support and the assistance of tutors. BBVA Bancomer branch employees volunteer to help the students draw up a career plan and discover a world full of opportunities afforded by an education.
“We coach the kids,” she said. “Especially those who are a little behind in a subject.” “She’s really good with these kids: She talks with them and makes them aware of how important it is to study and keep their scholarship. She talks to the teachers, too.” Amelia says it is crucial for them to stay in school. “These kids are the future of Mexico. They have to study, but they must also feel supported. And that’s something we can do through the bank.”
"When something doesn’t go right, you get five minutes to cry, then we have to find a way to solve it"
Name: Amelia Aguilar
Position: Branch manager[BBVA Bancomer – Mexico]
Function: Be passionate about customer service
Hobby: Helping her community
Dream: Work in another country
Soy milk and butterflies
“I’ve got two kids, and we are working on two sustainable development projects. The first one is to produce soy milk to fight against malnutrition in Mexico, especially in the towns of Oaxaca, which is one of the poorest regions in the country.” Soy milk has all the nutrients a malnourished person needs, she says. “Some companies in the region are helping us because we don’t want to ask government agencies for help.”
“One son brought home another project: A butterfly display, so that women from the area can make some money. The idea is to frame all kinds of butterflies and sell them to universities around the world. My other son holds a degree in foreign trade and he is going to help us export them. Although we haven’t started yet, people are already excited and they want us to get it up and running as soon as possible.”
Amelia wants to help the community. “Work is hard to come by in some regions of Mexico. So we are going to create it. We are going to help create jobs. Every one of us must take responsibility. We can’t leave it all up to the government, because no matter how hard they try, they can’t help everyone. That’s why we have to pitch in ourselves.”
Talking to Amelia can convince you that anything is possible. And, as a district manager taught her: “When something doesn’t go right, you get 5 minutes to cry. Then you have to find a way to solve the problem.”