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Fintech 05 Oct 2016

Carlos Torres Vila at the South Summit: “BBVA wants to be more than a bank. It wants to be an engine of opportunities”

BBVA CEO Carlos Torres Vila explained this morning that BBVA wants “to be more than a bank. It wants to be an engine of opportunities” for its customers. “We are living transformative times in which the arrival of new technologies is creating new opportunities everywhere and BBVA wants to be there to be the best bank for its customers,” he maintained. Carlos Torres Vila participated in the South Summit, one of the most important fintech events in Spain, held in Madrid.

Carlos Torres Vila began his presentation by analyzing the major transformation taking place in the banking industry and financial system due to the arrival of disruptive digital players (fintech) with superior value propositions and lower operating costs. “In just over three years, technology has caused customers to make unprecedented behavioral changes. They increasingly expect to be able to interact with their bank using mobile phones,” he said.

As a result of these changes, Carlos Torres Vila explained that BBVA is working to meet the new demands of their customers, who increasingly expect amazing (things). Unlike traditional banks, BBVA employs a model used by startups in which customer experience and technology (and not monetization) are the priority when developing solutions. “This model allows us to create amazing, solutions that are so convenient and simple that they end up transforming customers’ lives,” he said.

BBVA’s CEO reminded the auditorium filled with more than 400 fintech entrepreneurs and executives that the financial ecosystem and the promotion of innovation are two pillars of the Group’s ambitious transformation process. He mentioned Big Data, blockchain technology and artificial intelligence as technological developments capable of changing the banking business.

BBVA CEO Carlos Torres Vila

The best customer experience

Carlos Torres Vila indicated that BBVA’s strategy revolves around six priorities that will allow it to lead the way in the sector’s transformation. He focused on:

  • The best customer experience. The Group aims to become a leader in customer satisfaction. It is working on a new customer relations model based on convenient and simple solutions and making use of Big Data and AI to offer each customer a personalized value proposition.
  • Digital sales and products, especially using mobile phones thanks to the launch of new digital products (digital onboarding, one-click products, etc.) At the end of June, BBVA had 16.4 million digital customers (+21%), and 10.2 million mobile customers (+45%). Digital sales have seen double-digit growth in Spain, Mexico, Turkey and South America.
  • New digital businesses and income sources. BBVA is adapting to the new digital ecosystem by creating startups, developing strategic partnerships and investing in disruptive models, with a focus on five main areas:

Internal incubator The Foundry. Designing, developing and applying internal initiatives, in collaboration with resident entrepreneurs, or developing projects in conjunction with strategic partners.

Strategic partnerships with fintech players. The goal is to explore new business opportunities, technologies and share knowledge. BBVA already has strategic partnerships with startups like Dwolla and is analyzing other possibilities in areas like lending, risk and authentication.

Digital M&A and direct investments. BBVA has built up its capabilities and expertise in design, big data and user experience by acquiring innovative business models, such as Simple, Madiva, Atom, Holvi and SpringStudio.

Venture capital. BBVA reorganized its venture capital investments through Propel, a new independent venture capital fund whose mission is to invest in startups that will revolutionize financial services.

Open platform. This means making banking services available to fintech players through open APIs that allow them to build their developments in an agile manner, backed by BBVA in terms of scalability, risk, compliance and processing.

BBVA CEO Carlos Torres Vila and Open APIs team

To conclude his presentation, the CEO specified that “BBVA is already becoming a better bank for its customers” thanks to a clear vision and roadmap where support for the fintech industry and the promotion of innovation play a leading role.

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