Reliability, convenience, sustainability, trust, and security are key words consumers and businesses want to associate with their bank. The best example of where these words blend to one concrete concept in the banking industry is in data and technology.
As part of BBVA’s new five-year strategic plan that will help usher it into the new decade, the bank is building on its established reputation to bring even more developments in the realm of digital transformation. Few financial institutions across the U.S. have had a track record comparable to BBVA’s work in technology - and the bank is more ready than ever to blaze more digital trails with its sixth and final pillar in its plan, especially considering what may be a new normal, post-pandemic.
Rodríguez Soler: "Even in BBVA’s infancy in the United States, the bank foresaw the industry’s digital revolution, and sought to be a pioneer in this area."
“Even in BBVA’s infancy in the United States, the bank foresaw the industry’s digital revolution, and sought to be a pioneer in this area,” said BBVA USA President and CEO Javier Rodríguez Soler. “There are multiple angles that we want to pursue in our journey to take our digital capabilities to the next level. We certainly had the vision to do it in the past, and we certainly have the right frame of mind to continue to succeed in a future very few were expecting.”
Even with the bank’s award-winning mobile application, groundbreaking digital products, and acquisitions of technology based companies such as Simple, the bank’s strides in technological evolution is still very much at the forefront of its operations.
Part of this pillar is BBVA’s focus on reducing obsolescence and increasing reliability. For example, in a time of real-time payments and swift transactions, outages to online and mobile banking functionalities could result in an inconvenient, frustrating, or dire situation, depending on the scenario. Constant upgrading of systems, expanding automated testing to increase efficiency, and both continuing and amplifying constant monitoring and reporting are cornerstones to the bank’s approach.
Rodríguez Soler: "We need to have the proper environment in place, in terms of both infrastructure and maintenance, to keep up with these ever-changing trends."
“Technologies are constantly evolving, and what was considered up-to-date even five years ago, might not be the most updated system today,” said Rodríguez Soler. “We need to have the proper environment in place, in terms of both infrastructure and maintenance, to keep up with these ever-changing trends. It is a must-have philosophy as opposed to a ‘nice to have’ one because our systems have a real impact on people's finances and livelihoods.”
In the same way, BBVA is also focused on upgrading key IT systems as a way of optimizing its solutions and strengthening the functionality it is able to provide customers. By doing so, the bank will have a robust data environment that will provide it increased capabilities in AI and fraud detection, but also give customers the most up-to-date applications and services.
“Through increased privacy regulation, machine learning models, real-time data processing, AI capabilities, among other strategies, we are prepared to solidify our protective digital walls, for the bank’s, and more importantly, our clients’ security,” said Rodríguez Soler. “While we are primed to do this now, we’ll even be adding more to that pool of innovative minds we already have employed with us. Our goal is to attract, develop and retain the best talent the industry has to offer.”
BBVA USA President and CEO Javier Rodríguez Soler
A key cog in the data and technology pillar, bolstering maintenance teams and investing in key talent, will assist BBVA with optimizing its infrastructure’s capabilities. The bank is primed to further enhance its talent retention plan, specifically in the areas of engineering.
Rodríguez Soler: "We want to not only keep, but attract the best minds in digital transformation so we can continue to lead the way in the banking industry."
“Our initiatives, across all platforms and lines of business, relies on our employees, the people who are working tirelessly to create opportunities for our clients,” said Rodríguez Soler. “That is especially true with the teams we are continually developing around our technology initiatives. We want to not only keep, but attract the best minds in digital transformation so we can continue to lead the way in the banking industry.”
BBVA employees work in a collaboration area at Brock Development Center in Birmingham, Ala.
Another significant aspect of the bank’s plans is facilitating the growth of its portfolio of technology-based companies. Innovators such as Simple, a digital neobank with built-in budgeting tools to help manage spending, have played a crucial role for BBVA and its digital journey, as have Azlo, BBVA’s banking platform for small businesses, and Open Platform, designed to provide access to financial products and services for fintechs. The bank will continue to focus on these types of partnerships to drive a new wave of customers to BBVA, while also expanding on its digital products in numerous areas of banking.
“Our goal is to have the ability to serve different types of clients with different types of needs,” said Rodríguez Soler. “We need to embrace an innovative mindset, as this industry is quickly and continually evolving, in both business and customer segments. We need to keep positioning ourselves to open new corridors for those we serve.”
BBVA Group Chairman Carlos Torres touched on the importance of maintaining an innovative mindset during a recent digital summit, noting that the pandemic has proven that BBVA was spot-on in defining its digital and technological strategy.
Rodríguez Soler: "Our ongoing commitment to this transformation as part of our 5-year plan has proven itself to be the right course of action."
“Our early commitment to a digital and technology strategy has allowed us to continue meeting our customers’ needs with the same quality of service, even through the most difficult days of the lockdown,” said Rodríguez Soler. “As our Group Chairman indicated, our ongoing commitment to this transformation as part of our 5-year plan has proven itself to be the right course of action.”
To read more about BBVA USA’s new 5-year strategic plan, and the six global pillars that are guiding it, click here. Click below to read about a specific pillar of the strategic plan: