BBVA’s entire branch network in Spain is now operational after the bank reopened the last of the branches that had closed because of the COVID-19 health crisis. The branches will follow strict safety measures, and BBVA is relying on its appointment system—a service that was already available to customers but which is more important than ever—to encourage compliance with health guidelines and provide a better customer experience by cutting waiting times. BBVA Chairman Carlos Torres Vila visited a branch in Madrid to see how employees are handling this phase of the pandemic.
The bank has gradually reopened its branches in Spain as lockdown restrictions have been progressively lifted. BBVA closed 70% of its Spain branches in March after the state of emergency was declared and only kept 30% of its branches open through May to protect the health of customers and employees as much as possible. Thanks to the bank's high degree of digitization, 90% of its branch staff were able to work from home during this time.
From May onwards, once the government had announced the different phases of the lockdown exit process, and based on customer usability data, BBVA proceeded to reopen more branches throughout Spain, according to the needs and situation of each area. As of today, BBVA’s entire Spain network is already open for business, except for those branches that usually close at certain times for the summer, which will reopen in September.
Customers can do 100% of their banking through digital channels, and the app offers more than 800 functions
BBVA Chairman Carlos Torres Vila visited a branch in Madrid to see how employees are handling this phase of the pandemic. During his visit, he chatted with employees and discussed issues such as the physical adaptation of the branches to the current situation and how the daily management of the branch is organized.
Digitization has prevented 20 million trips
During the worst months of the pandemic, BBVA continued to operate as usual through remote working. Only 10% of the Spain branch network's employees have worked on site in branches since the state of emergency was declared.
The bank’s transformation process has enabled it to provide quality financial services throughout this health crisis, and its customers have been able to bank online without having to go to the branches. Currently, customers can do 100% of their banking through digital channels, and the app offers more than 800 functions.
BBVA Chairman Carlos Torres Vila visited a branch in Madrid to see how employees are handling this phase of the pandemic. - BBVA
In this context, it is estimated that digitization and the possibility of banking online has avoided 20 million trips to branches during the lockdown, which has helped slow the spread of the virus.
There has been significant growth in the use of digital channels during the lockdown. In the first half of May, the use of the bank's website and app was already 10% higher than before the state of emergency. This growth equals the increase in the use of the bank's digital channels registered in all of 2019.
Furthermore, from March 14 to May, BBVA increased its digital customer base by nearly 250,000 to 5.3 million customers.
Safety measures at branches
To facilitate this capacity and manage traffic in branches across Spain, BBVA has promoted the use of its appointment service as a way of relating to customers. The bank has been offering the appointment service for some time now, with the aim of offering a better customer experience by eliminating waiting times and improving the client’s visit with their manager. This tool is now more important than ever as it helps everyone follow the branch health guidelines.
The branches in Spain have been reopened under strict hygiene and safety measures, and signs have been placed at entrances to inform the public about the rules to be followed inside the branches.
Specifically, clients must enter the branch buildings in an orderly fashion to ensure the capacity limits are not exceeded, and the distance recommended by the health authorities is maintained.
Likewise, the employees have also been reorganized to maintain the distance recommended, and plastic screens have been installed to protect employees and clients alike, as well as lines on the floor to show people where to stand while waiting.
Masks have been provided for employees, as a complement to personal protection measures, as well as hand sanitizer for both employees and clients. Offices and ATMs are disinfected daily using products authorized by the Spanish Ministry of Health.