BBVA often is quoted as saying that the future of finance is financing the future - in part, this means that the bank believes that financial institutions play a key role in the transition to a more sustainable economy.
For this reason, the second of six pillars that guide BBVA USA’s new strategic plan – Best Bank in the Best Region or BiB – focuses on that transition, planning for both economic and environmental sustainability. It’s also why the bank is aligning its business efforts with the economic, social and environmental challenges that society faces in order to see continued success.
As BBVA moves into the next decade, the bank will leverage its visionary thinking to grow and more deeply fulfill its purpose of creating opportunities for clients, communities and society. As a first step, BBVA has committed to helping clients improve their financial health as a means of improving society’s overall health.
“We believe strongly that sustainability is one of the biggest challenges facing society, and our focus on helping clients improve their financial health contributes to inclusive economic growth,” BBVA USA President and CEO Javier Rodríguez Soler said. “This is a key factor in economic sustainability - the ability to provide sustainable finance options that make sense for all socioeconomic levels and are widely available.”
BBVA USA President and CEO Javier Rodríguez Soler
One key objective for the bank in the U.S. pertains to economic sustainability. BBVA is developing social solutions that offer its clients a better understanding of their unique financial situations and the tools to take control and actively manage them.
According to Rodríguez Soler, the bank is working to combine existing products such as overdraft lines of credit with predictive notifications and proactive communications to give clients the tools they need to manage their accounts more effectively and more efficiently, ultimately helping create economic sustainability for clients and the bank.
It also is considering ways that its digital-forward products can contribute to economic sustainability, particularly solutions such as its mobile app, which helps clients through budgeting tools and account alerts, as well as adding functionality that helps customers monitor and manage their credit scores.
He said, “Changing client behavior is the key to creating an economically sustainable society, and BBVA intends to be at the forefront of this, for the benefit of our clients.”
In addition to creating financial products and services to help clients understand, manage and control their own finances, BBVA is committed to helping clients prepare for an increased focus on sustainability from an environmental standpoint.
Rodríguez Soler: The reality is, if you are not presently feeling the impact of environmental sustainability, you soon will, and BBVA is leveraging its visionary status to help clients."
“Society is changing, and environmental sustainability challenges are impacting a growing number of people and companies,” said Rodríguez Soler. “The reality is, if you are not presently feeling the impact of environmental sustainability, you soon will, and BBVA is leveraging its visionary status to help clients meet the challenges that are coming before they actually land."
According to Rodríguez Soler, the shift toward greater environmental sustainability initiatives portends great business opportunity in that the bank - as a result of its focus on it - is better positioned to lead the shift.
As an early expression of BBVA’s global focus on sustainability, the bank in 2018 launched Pledge 2025, a plan to mobilize €100 billion in green finance, sustainable infrastructures, social entrepreneurship and financial inclusion through 2025. As of January 2020, BBVA has already mobilized €30 billion of that commitment.
Rodríguez Soler: "Our pledge is about maintaining a balance between sustainable energy and fossil fuels investments, while helping clients transition to the new reality facing us all."
“We are the first bank to be transparent in activities related to both sustainable energy and fossil fuels,” said Rodríguez Soler. “Our pledge is about maintaining a balance between sustainable energy and fossil fuels investments, while helping clients transition to the new reality facing us all.”
Rodríguez Soler said that the bank is also looking to develop products and services that impact client behavior around sustainability in its consumer area. He gave examples of products that are priced based on energy efficiency or are specific to sustainable solutions, like electric and hybrid vehicle financing.
While helping clients in all areas of the bank work toward environmental sustainability, BBVA also plans to shift its own environmental and social risks and minimize potentially negative impacts, both direct and indirect. In January, BBVA announced that it has assigned an internal price for its CO2 emissions to deliver on its commitment to be carbon neutral in 2020.
“I think it’s clear that the world understands that sustainability will impact every facet of society,” Rodríguez Soler said. “We can either bury our heads in the sand and pretend it isn’t happening, or we can stand up, take a leadership position and, in so doing, ensure that our clients and communities are ready for what the future holds.”
“BBVA prides itself on being ahead of the curve, and when it comes to this particular issue - sustainability - none of us can afford to get left behind.”
To read more about BBVA USA’s new 5-year strategic plan, and the six global pillars that guide it, click here.
Watch BBVA.com in the coming weeks for more stories describing each of the strategic pillars in BBVA USA 5-Year Strategic Plan.