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Carlos Torres Vila: "Banking technology will improve customer relations"

BBVA CEO Carlos Torres Vila explained this morning that “banking technology will improve customer relations.” The CEO added that “BBVA has redefined its customer relations, moving from an infrastructure that was focused on money to accompanying customers in their professional and personal lives, helping them make the best financial decisions.” Technology allows us to bring the age of opportunity to everyone, he maintained.

On the occasion of MoneyConf, which is being held in Madrid today and tomorrow, BBVA’s CEO affirmed: “Business and technology are not enough. The human element is a necessary discipline that requires a different set of skills. That’s why we are building our design capacities, and learning new disciplines like behavioral economics.”

In terms of channels, the CEO underscored the growing importance of mobile banking in this new form of customer relations. “Automation within banks and collaboration with startups have helped us improve our customer service and supported our network of offices. As a result, customer satisfaction has skyrocketed,” indicated Carlos Torres Vila.

In an auditorium filled with entrepreneurs, startups and financial executives, Carlos Torres Vila engaged in an informal discussion with Paddy Cosgrave, founder and CEO of MoneyConf. He also explained the enormous impact data and artificial intelligence will have on the type of service and customer relations financial institutions offer. In this regard, BBVA’s CEO affirmed that “artificial intelligence, together with data, has a huge impact that enables machines to learn autonomously and make sense of all that information.”

For Carlos Torres Vila, data have become “the foundation of customer relations”. The Group has an initiative already underway to improve the segmentation and personalization of its products and help customers better understand their financial situation through personalized financial management

Carlos Torres Vila at MoneyConf 2016

Regarding the fintech sector’s headway in the financial industry, Carlos Torres Vila sustained that this type of company is enriching the financial ecosystem with new business models and value propositions and we believe “that BBVA can develop symbiotic relations with these fintech startups.” For this reason, “BBVA has a multi-faceted innovation strategy,” which combines internal development through our companies, alliances and investments with the acquisition of the best fintech firms on the market. “It is essential for us to be able to create an attractive ecosystem that invites the best fintech firms to become a part of it, to join us and grow with us.”

Another example of BBVA’s collaboration with startups is the creation of its banking API platform, which will facilitate innovation by the community of developers from fintech startups.

Economic situation

Carlos Torres Vila also assessed the economic situation in Europe, foreseeing nearly 1.6% growth in 2016 due to a slight improvement in the global context. Spain is expected to grow 2.7% this year and next year. He also indicated that if it weren’t for economic uncertainty over the past six months, the Spanish economy could have gained an additional 1% in the 2016-2017 period. In this sense, BBVA’s CEO indicated that the results are starting to show from the structural reforms that have been introduced.”

When asked about the referendum in the U.K. this week, BBVA’s CEO affirmed that Brexit is an issue that has more to do with politics and emotions than economics. Carlos Torres Vila noted that the U.K. leaving the European Union “is bad for the U.K. and Europe and would have a huge impact in the short-term.”

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