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Digital banking Updated: 30 Apr 2019

BBVA is once again named a top global banking innovator

BBVA has been honoured with three accolades in the 2019 edition of Global Finance Magazine’s The Innovators Awards.

Each year the magazine produces a breakdown of what it sees as being the top innovations from incumbent banks across the globe, with the series now in its seventh year.

Announcing its winners for the year, Global Finance publisher and editorial director Joseph D. Giarraputo, said: “The financial institutions winning Global Finance’s The Innovators 2019 honors excel in breaking down silos to unleash creative thinking. Best of all, they have shown how to channel creativity into valuable products and solutions.”

BBVA’s first highlighted innovation was for its Corporate Finance division, which picked up an award for an in-house platform. In this instance it was for BBVA’s use of blockchain to deliver corporate finance loans - something the bank has been leading the way in designing.

However BBVA has conducted a number of blockchain operations in recent months. The bank has been at the forefront in the implementation of this technology and as such has launched important pilots for the financial industry. The most recent examples include the world’s first blockchain syndicated loan arranged with Red Eléctrica Española, the first structured green bond to use this technology, issued on behalf of Mapfre, and the first sustainable blockchain-powered “Schuldschein” created for the regional government of Madrid.

Furthermore, BBVA is one of the founders of the European association INATBA, which aims to develop a global framework to foster greater transparency and confidence in the adoption of blockchain, in addition to encouraging the development of applications based on this cutting-edge technology.

The ‘Blockchain 50’ is not the only recognition BBVA has received in this area. The magazine World Finance praised the bank as the best digital bank in Spain, Mexico, and Turkey, among other reasons, because of its innovative and pragmatic use of blockchain to streamline its processes and services. The publication also points out that “blockchain technology could also benefit cross-border payments.”

Real time operations and chatbots

BBVA’s second nomination came for BBVA U.S.’s use of its RealTime ARP to help businesses operate more effectively. The system allows for real time management of things like invoices, payments and refunds for businesses across multiple accounts as they happen, meaning company leaders can spend more time making business and less time administrating.

“Our team worked diligently to ensure that we presented an innovative and convenient product for our commercial clients,” said BBVA U.S. Director of Multi-Channel Development Gabriel Palafox. “The result was a fully digital service that is capable of completely changing the way back-office operations function. BBVA is the first U.S. bank to offer true real-time ARP reconciliation, and we are honored to have gained this recognition from Global Finance Magazine.”

Lastly, BBVA Mexico picked up a special honors award for Most Innovative Chatbot, for its virtual assistant.

BBVA Mexico is the first bank in the country to use artificial intelligence integrated with WhatsApp’s technology. Its virtual assistant facilitates the bank’s communication with both customers and non-customer users, answering questions about branch location, how to open an account, and suggestions on how to use the bank’s digital services.

Because it is integrated with WhatsApp, BBVA’s virtual assistant can process data in both text and voice, so the user can choose the format he or she finds more convenient at the time of their contact with the bank. Users can feel safe sharing data, because when an account is verified, confidentiality is guaranteed by both companies. Furthermore, the assistant will not request confidential information such as account, PIN, or CVV numbers, or any other sensitive information. Nor will it deliver any kind of advertising.

Earlier this year BBVA was named by digital consultants 11:FS as one of the world’s top innovators, and in February, Global Finance also cited BBVA as Best Bank in Latin America and BBVA U.S. as the Top Treasury and Cash Management Provider in the South West.

The Global Finance Magazine’s full report into innovation across the banking sector will be published in June.