Carlos Torres Vila, CEO of BBVA, took part in the Encuentro Bancario Iberoamericano, (Ibero-American Bank Meeting) held today in Madrid. Asked how technology is conditioning the future of banking institutions, he said that “technology and globalization are affecting the banking business in a critical manner,” but that they also “allow us to do things more quickly and improve the experience of our customers.”
During his speech at the meeting, organized by the AEB (the Spanish Banking Association) and FELABAN (the Latin American Banking Association), the CEO of BBVA emphasized that the most important aspect of our technological commitment is to help customers solve a problem they encounter every day of their lives, which is none other than “helping them to improve their financial management.” Carlos Torres Vila said that more than one third of people don’t have “basic emergency savings,” an indicator of the financial health of the economy of any customer. However, “technology will clearly help us, so that our clients can make better financial decisions.”
As for the impact of technology on the relationship between financial institutions and their customers, the CEO of BBVA said this is not just about connectivity via the mobile phone, but also “more sophisticated topics, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain or the use of data,” which will contribute to making life easier for our customers.
Carlos Torres Vila, CEO of BBVA.
Asked about the role of regulation in this new environment, the CEO of BBVA indicated that “regulation responds to good objectives, to avoiding bad practices and failures of the market.” Carlos Torres Vila said he believes the process of transformation of the banking industry is “structural” and that “technology can help regulation; regtech can help to see if the result is suitable.”
As regards Latin America, where BBVA has a great presence, he said that “we already have nine million customers that use digital channels,” of which more than six million are mobile phones and “we continue growing at 50%.” In Latin America, and in the other franchises of the BBVA Group, “new functionalities are being launched every three months.” This is impacting “in a positive manner the index of customer recommendations regarding BBVA,” the CEO said.
During the round table held in the auditorium of the Rafael Pino Foundation in Madrid, Carlos Torres Vila was asked about the impact of some recent events, such as Brexit. He said that “if trade slows down, that will have repercussions on economic growth and will not allow inequalities to be eliminated.” Regarding the commitment of companies to reduce inequality, he underscored the role of the BBVA Microfinance Foundation. Apart from its activity to promote financial inclusion through micro-credits to support entrepreneurs, Carlos Torres Vila stressed that, in this case, “we are also using technology to help.” As for the new U.S. administration, he said, “I’m more optimistic than pessimistic with respect to the policies the new U.S. administration will develop.”
Carlos Torres Vila participated in the round table along with Jaime Guardiola, CEO of Banco Sabadell; María Dolores Dancausa, CEO of BankInter; Giorgio Trettenero,secretary general of Felaban and José Antonio Álvarez, CEO of Banco Santander.