While the bank’s financial education workshops have traditionally been held in person, its Responsible Business team has shifted quickly to leverage digital solutions to provide the same curriculum through virtual workshops led by BBVA volunteer subject-matter experts. Since the transition to virtual workshops in April, the program has reached more than 2,000 participants.
Moraga: "It was relatively simple for us to adapt the workshops to a remote setting."
“We have always incorporated technology into our workshops, using iPads and computers in our financial education workshops across our footprint,” said Tony Moraga, BBVA USA Manager of Social Impact. “Because we already had the curriculum for our 13 topics on a digital platform, it was relatively simple for us to adapt the workshops to a remote setting.”
The biggest task in converting to a virtual program was training nonprofit partners and employee volunteers on the platform, which was specifically designed to work best on a mobile device or smartphone. This mobile-first approach was critical to allow as many community members as possible to participate in the virtual workshops, according to Moraga. “We know that not everyone has access to a computer at home, so we wanted to be sure the workshops were available on tablets and smartphones, as well.”
Remote classes are taught on an online meeting platform, which allows participants to interact with the instructor, ask questions and participate in real-time surveys and interactive exercises. In addition to the 13 financial topics covered by BBVA’s current curriculum, two new modules, Mobile Banking and Debt Management, are in development and slated to be available in late July.
Ocañas: "During these difficult times, it’s never been more important for people to understand and control their personal finances..."
“As part of our vision of creating opportunities for everyone, BBVA remains dedicated to improving the lives and financial well-being of the people in our communities, and financial education is a key part of that,” said Reymundo Ocañas, BBVA USA Director of Communications and Responsible Business. “During these difficult times, it’s never been more important for people to understand and control their personal finances, and we will continue to find creative ways to help them do that.”
In 2019, BBVA provided more than 800 adult financial education workshops on personal finance, small business and home ownership, reaching more than 12,000 participants. To date in 2020, volunteer instructors have led more than 250 workshops providing financial education to more than 4,000 participants through in-person (pre-COVID-19) and virtual (post-COVID-19) workshops.
Financial education heads the list of the bank’s guiding pillars in its new 5-year global strategic plan, specifically focused on helping clients improve their financial health as a means to subsequently improve society’s overall health. According to Ocañas, the elevation of this focus makes sense for customers, business and society as a whole.