In February 2019, BBVA USA’s parent company disclosed in its earnings presentation that BBVA USA’s branch productivity increased by 40 percent over two years, making the regional bank one of the fastest growing in its segment.
Underlying such dramatic growth is a solid understanding that, for branches to reach their full potential in the 21st century, a strategy that blends the best of human touch and digital is essential.
In this occasional series, we’ll take a look at how BBVA USA’s Head of Retail Banking Çağri Süzer has directed such notable results and the specific tactics that laddered up to the success of his Retail branch network. In this first story, we’ll review the ways in which digital transformation adoption became a strategic imperative for each of the bank’s 642 branches and its more than 3,700 branch employees.
Driving digital transformation through branches
Sixty percent of all new checking account customers were fully onboarded to digital channels, with users provided a username and password and given in-person demonstrations of how to do transactions like depositing a check, paying bills, creating budgets in mobile banking.
One: Providing our retail network the tools and training to enable faster and more convenient digital onboarding
BBVA USA employs more than 3,700 people in its branches. Several years ago, the bank began to train all branch employees with its Blue Maverick curriculum, an in-depth training on all aspects of the bank’s mobile app with an eye toward transitioning branch staff from transaction takers to technology and advice specialists.
The importance of helping customers understand and use the bank’s mobile app was signaled by setting a target number of verified customer demonstrations for branch bankers each month.
To track and verify the demonstrations, the bank’s Relationships Models team worked with the Mobile Banking team to build the Mobile BankerDemo, an in-app functionality that logs each of the Mobile Banking demonstrations performed by an individual banker and a specific customer. BankerDemo aggregates the data with the employee ID, non-sensitive customer information, date and time. It can track demonstrations of 10 different key functionalities ranging from mobile deposit to payments and transfers, as well as bill pay and other activities such as debit card activation or paper statements opt-outs.
Sparks: With BankerDemo, we are able to move beyond general conversations about mobile banking and actually create technology experts.
BBVA Director of Relationship Model Discipline Cody Sparks said, “With BankerDemo, we are able to move beyond general conversations about mobile banking and actually create technology experts. Together the branch team member and the customer learn to move their money, pay people, apply security best practices, create budgets all on the customer’s phone with the customer’s accounts. These interactions happen across the branch by tellers, bankers, relationship managers and branch managers. All 3,700-plus branch employees are engaged with introducing the advantages of mobile banking to our customers.”
In-branch demonstrations are a strategy that’s working, with 677,183 demonstrations completed through mid-September 2019 and a mobile app customer adoption rate that continues to grow.
Two: Frequent communication with branch team members on the impact of digital engagement on both customer satisfaction and business results
Rather than simply handing down strategies or new initiatives without context, branch banking leadership teams intentionally communicate the branch employees’ results during monthly cascade meetings and quarterly reviews. In those meetings, the results are specifically tied back to digital engagement initiatives, so all team members can understand how increased customer digital adoption can help achieve their goals by increasing the amount of time they can spend talking to customers, building relationships and understanding their needs.
Süzer: It is [our employees'] work on the front line that produces the trust we need to keep our transformation moving forward.
“We want to show our employees that moving customers to digital channels for certain transactions is not only good business, but has a positive impact in terms of the amount of time they have available for dialogue,” Süzer said. “Their understanding of why we are so focused on integrating digital in the branch needs to be as deep as anybody else's. It is their work on the front line that produces the trust we need to keep our transformation moving forward.
Three: Aligning goals with customer first strategy
Because BBVA USA is focused on creating and maintaining a strong culture that puts the client first, the bank’s branch employee goals are built on forging strong relationships. Leveraging both branch and digital channels can give customers a better experience with the bank, so digital onboarding of new customers was made the most important aspect of branch employee goals.
Süzer: We want our customers and employees to understand that our push to digital is not about taking either of them out of the branch.
“We want our customers and employees to understand that our push to digital is not about taking either of them out of the branch,” Süzer said. “Quite the opposite, actually. By shifting operational transactions to digital channels, our employees have more time to build trust, give advice and be the hands and feet of the bank to our clients. To us, this is the most valuable role our employees can have, and making that clear on their scorecard gives the message extra emphasis.”
To reach more about Suzer’s work in transforming the bank’s branch network, read BBVA USA Retail Banking: Blending the best in branches and digital.