06 Jul 2020
The BBVA Research team has published two reports: its U.S. Regional Outlook for July, highlighting key factors impacting regional economies, along with its economic analysis of the U.S. employment report. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact job growth and other economic indicators.
01 Jul 2020
The European Investment Bank (EIB) Group and BBVA are set to join forces to support Spanish small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-caps affected by the COVID-19 crisis, signing two agreements to provide total financing of €1.42 billion.
29 Jun 2020
In June, BBVA’s Group executive chairman held a round of meetings with the bank’s teams in Spain, Mexico, the U.S. and Turkey. At the meetings he went over the situation in each country and shared future challenges. “The pandemic will serve to accelerate our strategic priorities – digitization, data and sustainability – as well as the search for new ways of working,” he explained.
24 Jun 2020
The future will never look the same. If one were to scour news articles and studies around the current health situation, one will find that a good portion of medical experts will convey this concept. It’s difficult to say what the future will look like in multiple facets of society, but it’s safe to say that the ripple effects will be prominent, at least in the beginning.
23 Jun 2020
Over the past few months, the whole world is making an extra effort amidst the sanitary and economic crisis prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Banking is an essential service and as such it has a key role in economic activity. Peru was no exception, and BBVA continued to serve its customers and clients with all their financial needs.
Olga Gouveia, lead economist for Financial Systems at BBVA Research, wrote an op ed piece for the Spanish daily paper, Expansión, where she gave a positive appraisal of the European Central Bank liquidity auctions. The ECB auctions aim to increase lending in order to address the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.
18 Jun 2020
BBVA’s executive chairman joined CEO Onur Genç at the bank’s headquarters in Madrid to participate in an employee meeting where they reviewed lessons learned from the crisis and how the bank’s strategic priorities have proven their resilience in the face of the recent challenge. Carlos Torres Vila believes that, in the current context, BBVA’s purpose, strategy and values “are more relevant than ever.” Together with Ricardo Forcano, global head of Engineering and Organization, and Carlos Casas, head of Talent & Culture shared further details about the bank’s plans for Spain and Turkey where the pandemic statistics favor a return to the workplace.
15 Jun 2020
BBVA’s Group executive chairman underscored the urgency of reactivating the economy to prevent damage that could be irreversible – something we should do standing “united and with consensus.” At an event organized by the Spanish Federation of Businesses (CEOE), Carlos Torres Vila indicated that “private investment is crucial to a digital, data-based, social and sustainable future.”
Ebru Dildar Edin, Executive Vice President of Corporate and Investment Banking at Garanti BBVA participated in the seminar ‘The Changing Future of Work,’ where she emphasized the role sustainability will play in establishing a new, improved normal.
12 Jun 2020
According to last week’s data on credit and debit card spending, consumption has recovered in regions where pandemic restrictions have been lifted. This improvement is observed in the U.S., Turkey and Spain, and in recent days in Latin America. In Spain, increased spending has been seen in those regions that first moved into phase two of the country’s reopening. BBVA Research points out that there was also an increase in ATM cash withdrawals.
BBVA has now earmarked the €35 million donation it committed to support COVID-19 relief. The lion’s share of the funds (81 percent) were allocated to defend against the virus’ initial hit in medical centers and hospitals.
11 Jun 2020
BBVA is the only Spanish bank to have signed a declaration calling for the need to include investing in renewable energy in the economic reconstruction plan proposed by the European Commission. It is one of the private sector’s latest calls to action to governments that are “committed to a green recovery, once the worst of the COVID-19 crisis is over.”
Francisco Herrera, Computer Science Professor at the University of Granada, is leading research that aims to diagnose COVID-19 in less than a second using chest x-rays. The project, which is in advanced stages, uses artificial intelligence as a tool to interpret biomedical images more effectively than the human brain. This technique would greatly help health clinics that do not have sophisticated diagnostic imaging systems.
10 Jun 2020
How does BBVA manage the evolution of the pandemic across its footprint? After monitoring the news report began emerging earlier this year about a new virus, on March 9, the bank’s Corporate Continuity Committee decided to create a global war room, led by Ricardo Forcano and Carlos Casas, the heads of Engineering & Organization and Talent & Culture, respectively. War room is a military term that is increasingly used in the business world to describe a group of people who are totally dedicated to tackling a crisis, to make timely and agile decisions.
09 Jun 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on the financial industry and consumers have been well-chronicled in traditional and social media alike. Banking may never be the same moving forward, in many different ways. That could also include an expedited disappearance of cash, a mode of payment that was already on the decline.
The relaxation of pandemic restrictions has given consumption a boost in those Spanish regions that first moved into phase two of the country’s reopening. BBVA Research’s weekly analysis measuring debit and credit card spend reveals that for regions remaining in phase one, previous consumption improvements (coming out of the transition from phase zero to one) stalled, with declines last week of May standing firmly at between 10 and 15 percent.
08 Jun 2020
The COVID-19 healthcare crisis has changed all of our lives, both personally and professionally. The situation in the financial markets has not been easy; it has required new ways of doing things and has forced us to rapidly adapt to a context where both client demand and the type of products they need has changed. Many corporate clients have needed liquidity and have looked to banks to take exceptional steps to help their businesses weather the crisis. BBVA has been there for our clients the whole time. In a new installment from the series ‘The Essentials of BBVA,’ Cristina, Sandra, and Maria tell us about their experiences during the crisis, what kind of support they have provided their clients, and how they have faced the unique challenges of this situation.
During the coronavirus crisis, digital functionality has been critical for keeping the financial system up-and-running and facilitating quality customer care under extraordinary circumstances, even while the pandemic dictated minimal physical contact. This represents a sign of success for the sector’s digitization efforts and should also serve to make further regulatory progress. So concluded a virtual meeting dedicated to Europe’s future digital finance strategy, ‘Digital Finance Outreach,’ organized by the European Commission in collaboration with Spain’s Treasury Department.
04 Jun 2020
BBVA’s Turkish unit is on the frontlines in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Emergency field hospitals in Sancaktepe and at the Atatürk airport have received locally manufactured medical equipment.
03 Jun 2020
When the Paycheck Protection Program launched in early-April, BBVA USA employees knew there was going to be an influx of applications for small businesses struggling during the ongoing pandemic.
Ricardo Forcano, the Global Head of Engineering and Organization at BBVA, participated in a digital meeting organized by the Association for Managerial Progress (APD) entitled ‘Innovation and culture for organizational growth’. During the event, the director explained how the current situation can serve as an impetus to redesign work methods in organizations. He also explained that BBVA is using collective intelligence and data to face the current crisis.
02 Jun 2020
In the summer of 2018, Pablo Martín sequestered himself for almost 100 days in a cabin in the Swiss municipality of Montricher. His purpose: to write ‘Memories of an Old Hardhead’. At the time he would never have imagined that the plot of his novel would so closely reflect the reality of 2020.
29 May 2020
In an interview with the Financial Times, BBVA Group executive chairman Carlos Torres Vila stressed that: “If we want to avoid a deeper economic impact that may be irreversible, measures should be compatible with controlling infection rates, [keeping] contagion at bay [while] reactivating the economy. The best way to reconstruct is not to destroy.”
BBVA’s CEO sat down with Turkish news agency Anadolu to discuss the current scenario facing Turkey’s economy and banking system. Onur Genç expressed his optimism regarding Turkey’s progress at the economic level and considers that banks are in good shape to face this crisis. Digitization, in his opinion, will be key for banks in the current scenario. In this sense, he cited Garanti BBVA as an example of a digital leader, with almost nine million digital customers, eight million of whom are mobile.
Collaboration between banks and financial technology startups could be key for finding solutions in the new environment that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about. The digital event ‘BBVA Open Talks Global: Fintech Post-Covid’ included how the innovation ecosystem is reacting in the various countries where BBVA is present. Where Spain is concerned, innovation has accelerated and there are already tech solutions on the table to build a post-pandemic future.
28 May 2020
BBVA’s emblematic headquarters building in Madrid will be lit with a black ribbon for the 10 day mourning period decreed by the Spanish government, which began yesterday. The bank, which has devoted its efforts to help combat the health emergency, is therefore joining the tribute to the victims of the disease.
27 May 2020
BBVA placed a €1 billion inaugural COVID-19 social bond on the market today, making it the first private financial institution in Europe to do so. Demand was close to €5 billion, nearly five times more than the initial offer. The funds will be primarily allocated to mitigating the severe economic and social impact caused directly and indirectly by the COVID-19 pandemic. The interest rate was set at 112 basis points over mid-swap, 33 basis points below the initial target price (145 bps over mid-swap).
26 May 2020
BBVA USA has funded approximately $3.3 billion small business loans in less than 60 days, processing more than 22,000 applications and impacting approximately 360,000 jobs through its efforts in the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the bank announced today.
Essential remote working has forced a change to on-site employee training plans. BBVA had already espoused a culture of online learning before the pandemic, offering its staff a comprehensive digital training catalog via the Campus BBVA platform. The platform has been refreshed to adapt to employee needs during the weeks of confinement. Employee response has been positive: traffic to the training portal shot up 96 percent with more than two million sessions during the first month of lockdown. A review of the most consumed topics reveals employees’ growing interest in developing new competencies (data, design, sustainability), which are priority for BBVA and and even more apropos given the new reality that awaits.
Joaquín Dopazo is leading a project that uses a machine learning algorithm to identify proteins involved in the illness and cross match this information with a database of drugs used to treat other conditions. “We checked if some of the proteins detected are therapeutic targets of other medications approved for other uses, and we concluded that these treatments could act on the mechanisms that COVID-19 uses to cause harm,” says the researcher, who in 2018 won a BBVA Foundation team grant in the Big Data category.
Fewer mobility restrictions are beginning to bear fruit and some countries are starting to show signs of recovery, although at different speeds. The U.S. Sunbelt and Turkey are leading the way. In Spain, lifting the lockdown restrictions in different phases is leading to unequal recovery among the regions. These are the main conclusions of a weekly study that analyzes the dynamics of expenditures in the countries where BBVA operates during the COVID 19 pandemic.
21 May 2020
The BBVA Research team has published its Economic Outlook for second quarter 2020, offering a look at how the U.S. economy might recover in a post-COVID world.
There was no spider bite, fear of bats, Planet Krypton birth or iron suit needed for a group of BBVA Superheroes to rise to a unique challenge. That challenge? Continuing branch operations in a time when finances are at the center of a never-before-seen crisis.
New situations call for new approaches. When the Paycheck Protection Program launched in early-April, BBVA USA employees knew there was going to be an influx of applications for small businesses struggling during the ongoing pandemic.
20 May 2020
The coronavirus crisis may lead to a series of changes forcing many companies to rethink their business models. Startups frequently depend on funding, and some may be critically impacted. Still, others may find themselves in a stronger position thanks to their capacity to adapt to the changing landscape or because they provide digital services that have proven invaluable. Could the coronavirus crisis set the stage for the next big startup?
19 May 2020
Economies around the world have never experienced a halt in activity as drastic as the current economic standstill caused by COVID-19. The new normality, as the experts have coined it, has brought with it a feeling of global fellowship in which all countries are fighting together to overcome this difficult experience.
Falsehood, lie, fallacy, insidiousness, post-truth. There are a multitude of synonyms to refer to the term that continues to fill social networks and the media: ‘fake news’.
18 May 2020
Laura Lechuga, research professor at Spain’s National Scientific Research Council (CSIC) and group leader in the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2), is heading up the ambitious CoNVaT project. CoNVat aims to produce a rapid, inexpensive, and highly sensitive test for diagnosing COVID-19 from the first day of infection. “It won’t only indicate if the virus is present or not, but it will also reveal its concentration. This is important because it gives an idea about how advanced the infection is,” she explains. The new test should be ready in less than a year, in time for future waves of the pandemic.
15 May 2020
In late March, BBVA USA announced that it would be closing most of its 637 branch lobbies and instead serving customers through its drive-thrus, among other modifications. The changes, put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and for the safety of its clients, is now reaching its two month anniversary.
What does a company bring to society? What role does it play? Why does a brand exist? These questions can be answered in many ways, each answer hinting at the company’s “what for”, the reason that drives it and defines how it engages with society, its purpose.
14 May 2020
In an interview published by the financial newspaper Expansión, BBVA’s CEO explains what the coronavirus crisis has been like for him, and how the bank has adapted its operations to continue providing customers the same service. “It is very rewarding to see how our teams have adjusted to the challenges posed by this scenario,” he said. Onur Genç thinks the crisis is going to have a major impact on the economy and businesses, and that now is the time “when we – the banks – need to stand by our customers more than ever before, and be part of the solution to this crisis.”
A BBVA Research study leverages big data technology to monitor worldwide media treatment of COVID-19. Analyzing more than 80,000 online news publications in more than 100 languages, the study concludes that both the extent of news coverage and its sentiment provides valuable information about the pandemic’s development and the degree to which it impacts the economy and politics. Furthermore, a correlation between increased number of infections and ‘media stress’ has been observed.
13 May 2020
The ‘RRSSalud’ project is researching the dynamics and types of fake news regarding coronavirus on social networks, thus helping to alleviate the negative effects of this health crisis. Coordinated by the researcher Ramón Salaverría, the initiative is part of the BBVA Foundation’s 2019 program to assist scientific research teams in economics and digital society. One of the first conclusions of the study has determined that one-third of current fake news stories refer to the health crisis contain health or scientific content.
12 May 2020
It’s technically complicated, but yes, if the webcam user doesn’t follow some security precautions, it is possible. Furthermore, exploiting the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has driven an increase in teleworking, online classes, and all kinds of virtual meet-ups, cyber criminals are looking to profit by stepping up their attacks. Find out how to prevent others from unauthorized access to your web camera or videoconferences.
11 May 2020
Between last week and this week, the bank will reopen an additional 250 branches, to coincide with Spain’s careful easing of confinement restrictions. BBVA has also initiated the gradual return to work for those employees who fulfill critical business functions. The health of the bank’s customers and staff is the fundamental factor guiding this process. In the next few days, 200 employees and external contractors will return to their posts in central services, and 1,300 staff will return to branch offices throughout Spain.
In many ways, the coronavirus crisis marks a turning point in human behavior. One of the lessons this pandemic is teaching us is the essential need to change the way we interact with nature. “We will open the door to new pandemics if we continue maintaining a toxic relationship with nature,” states the ecologist Pedro Jordano. For the secretary of the jury for the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge in Ecology and Conservation Biology, biodiversity “works like a shock absorber”. If it is altered, “it leads to all kinds of problems,” like the spread of COVID-19.
07 May 2020
The arrival of COVID has forced many companies to figure out new ways of working, and to accepting the idea of allowing, where feasible, employees to work from home. These new alternative work arrangements may yield substantial sustainability, cost saving and productivity benefits, but also expose of corporate confidential information to new threats. In this context, adopting increased security habits becomes more important than ever.
05 May 2020
Nearly two months after Spain declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus crisis, the population has slowly begun to adapt to the lifting of some lockdown restrictions amid lots of questions and fear of a new outbreak. In an initiative promoted by the BBVA Foundation, Dr. Jordi Vila, the Head of Microbiology Services at the Hospital Clínic in Barcelona, gave a videoconference for BBVA employees to answer some of these questions. Among his responses regarding how to return to work in a safe manner, he indicated that “massive testing would be ideal, but it’s impossible from a logistical standpoint,” in his opinion.
BBVA has joined the manifiesto ‘Green Recovery. Reboot and reboost our economies for a sustainable future’, promoted by the Chair of the European Parliament Committee on the Environment, Pascal Canfin. This alliance defends a sustainable recovery from the coronavirus crisis, and is comprised of politicians, businesses, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and unions, among others. “In order to tackle the challenge of a quick recovery, we should start with a more sustainable development model,” said BBVA Group executive chairman Carlos Torres Vila.
Artificial intelligence is contributing to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Projects directly related to pharmacology, medical and hospital care, or mobility analysis to reduce contagion have found a crucial ally in data science to make progress and deliver results.
30 Apr 2020
Carlos Torres Vila, BBVA Group executive chairman and Onur Genç, BBVA CEO, presented the results for the first quarter of 2020 at an online press conference from their homes. Carlos Torres Vila stressed that now, “The most important thing is to look ahead and return to activity” to foster the economic recovery. This reopening should prioritize health, but “reactivate our productive network and employment.” In this sense, “everyone’s collaboration – governments, the private sector and society in general – will be fundamental to overcoming this crisis.” A recession that he predicts will last “for a limited time”.
Late Friday, BBVA USA sent up its own version of the bat signal to more than 600 Branch Retail Executives (BREs) across its seven-state footprint, asking who among them was willing to be a superhero on Saturday.
Garanti BBVA’s posted a net income of 1.68 billion Turkish lira for the first quarter of the year. The bank’s total amount of assets stood at 456.17 billion Turkish lira, 65% of which are funded through deposits. Deposits grew by 7% percent in the first quarter, reaching 295.92 billion Turkish lira. The bank also contributed a total of 346.58 billion Turkish lira to the economy through cash and non-cash loans. Garanti BBVA’s capital adequacy ratio was 16.6%, with a return on average equity (ROAE) of 12.4% and a return on average assets (ROAA) of 1.5%.
29 Apr 2020
How does a bank manage to secure 2,813 ventilators just at the peak of global demand for priority health care supplies during the coronavirus pandemic? How is €19 million paid from Spain within one week, and what are the arrangements required to bring the first 1,013 ventilators from over 9,000 kilometers away over closed air space? This is the account of how urgently needed medical supplies were secured in the middle of a global pandemic, as told by some of the people who made it possible.
With millions of people teleworking and communicating with each other online during the coronavirus crisis, email has become of the main tools for both professional and personal purposes. Now more than ever before, it is important to learn to detect cyber attacks that come in the form of emails, and follow the recommendations to protect ourselves from them.
28 Apr 2020
While banks across the country struggle to keep up with the onslaught of loan applications from small businesses racing to access Paycheck Protection Program funds, employees at BBVA USA found a unique solution: volunteers.
Egon Zehnder, a global consulting firm, is holding a round of digital meetings with CEOs of banks around the world to hear about their strategies to navigate the COVID-19 crisis and their insights into unprecedented situation. During a meeting held on April 4, BBVA CEO Onur Genç detailed the Group’s priorities in the face of the health emergency caused by COVID-19: safeguarding customer and employee health and continuing to deliver its services and supporting customers.
27 Apr 2020
While the ripple effects of COVID-19 have essentially hit almost every aspect of life in the U.S., the Paycheck Protection Program – part of the CARES Act passed by Congress in response to the negative economic impact the pandemic has had – has highlighted the difficulties that have befallen small businesses from coast-to-coast.
When the pandemic relief legislation known as the CARES Act passed in late March, BBVA USA recognized that an online application for the Act’s Payroll Protection Program (PPP) would be the best way to expedite funding and ensure the safety and health of its customers and employees.
“Recovery from the COVID-19 crisis should be green, inclusive, and resilient. The recovery is not at odds with sustainability; in fact, they should be aligned,” Antoni Ballabriga, BBVA’s Global Head of Responsible Business explained at a virtual meeting organized by Finnovating. José Manuel Marques, Head of the Financial Innovation Division at the Banco de España also participated in the forum.
Children and young people are particularly susceptible to the risks of the Internet. These risks are even more pronounced as the coronavirus imposes social distancing, causing our children to spend more of their day online than normal. Here are some suggestions that will help keep children safe when they are on social media.
Maintaining financial health once the lockdown is over will be important for our savings goals and for having a financial cushion that makes it possible to handle any emergency, thus ensuring peace of mind with respect to financial matters. That’s why it’s a good idea to continue some of the habits that have become widespread during the lockdown, habits that have proven effective for saving money.
24 Apr 2020
Donations from BBVA employees around the world to fight coronavirus have reached one million euros. As part of its campaign ‘Your contribution is worth double’, BBVA has matched the amount donated by each employee, for a total of two million euros. The donation will be used to purchase healthcare materials, to support vulnerable communities across the bank’s footprint, and to research a cure for the disease. At the outset of the crisis, BBVA announced that it would contribute 35 million euros to fight the pandemic. This figure includes the bank’s one million euro contribution to the campaign in solidarity against COVID-19.
Cybercriminals are taking advantage of COVID-19 and the new reality it has imposed: telecommuting hitting peak levels and huge amounts of information — and misinformation — circulating the Internet. Scammers are ramping up their activities as they try to maximize ill-gotten gains. We explain how these organized groups work, what attacks are the most common, and what we can do to protect ourselves.
23 Apr 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically altered our habits. Bars, restaurants, and entertainment spots have temporarily closed down and are being forced to consider how they might have to restructure in response to a new, post-pandemic world. “Seeing an empty restaurant is a bit sad: such a vital space, normally with so much energy and young people from all over the world working, but we want to be optimistic,” says chef Joan Roca, owner of El Celler de Can Roca, one of Spain’s most celebrated gastronomic venues. The hospitality industry is facing a considerable challenge, and insight from industry leaders like the Roca brothers can shed some light on what we might expect from restaurants in a post-COVID-19 reality.
22 Apr 2020
The COVID-19 health crisis is bringing out the best of society. The solidarity and efforts of the workers the country needs at their regular places of work – known as essential workers – also represent a significant boost toward stopping the epidemic, and help make this quarantine easier to handle. One of the essential sectors for the economy is the financial sector. This new series on BBVA’s corporate website starts off with testimonies from Henar, Sergio and Nuria, employees at the bank’s network of branches in Spain.
21 Apr 2020
In its latest edition of ‘Spain Outlook‘ – presented today by Jorge Sicilia, Director of BBVA Research Chief Economist of BBVA Group, and Rafael Doménech, Head of Economic Analysis of BBVA – BBVA’s research service estimates that the containment measures implemented to curb contagion rates and reign in the Covid-19 pandemic will cause Spain’s GDP to decline 8 percent year-on-year (compared to its previous 1.6 percent growth forecast). The decline may drive to an unemployment rate above 20 percent this year. In 2021, as a result of the expected global recovery and the policies promoted by both European institutions and the government of Spain, Spain’s GDP growth rate could reach 5.7 percent year-on-year.
As part of Turkey’s national solidarity campaign, BBVA’s franchise will donate 200 ventilators to the Turkish Ministry of Health.
At the end of 2019, when the first cases of COVID-19 began to be detected in China, a lockdown seemed like a remote scenario. Four months later, isolation and social distancing have emerged as the most effective measures to stop the virus from spreading, forcing more than 3.6 billion people around the world to isolate themselves in their homes.
Since the start of the COVID outbreak, a plethora of mobile data collection applications have been developed to help users to report their symptoms and track the disease. In countries like South Korea these ‘apps’ have gone even further and provide authorities with the ability to alert users when they’ve been in direct contact with a confirmed positive case. In this article we take a look at how these applications work, what they are for and how they handle user information.
20 Apr 2020
The mathematical community has committed all its resources to support the fight against COVID-19. Specifically, the Spanish Mathematics Committee (CEMat) has launched Mathematical Action against Coronavirus, an initiative geared towards putting the Committee’s analysis and modeling capabilities at the service of authorities to help them better understand the problem and design possible solutions. David Gómez-Ullate and Justo Puerto, both recipients of several BBVA Foundation grants and scholarships, are two of the mathematicians who are contributing to the project.
Garanti BBVA founded SALT in 2011 as an autonomous non-profit entity devoted to the dissemination of culture and the development of independent and sustainable content production environments.
17 Apr 2020
As small businesses across the country struggle with challenges from decreased sales to mandatory shut-downs tied to the COVID-19 pandemic, BBVA USA employees worked fervently to ensure the bank was one of the first in the U.S. to accept applications for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program.
BBVA Group executive chairman Carlos Torres Vila and BBVA CEO Onur Genç participated in a virtual Live@BBVA event with more than 65,000 connections from employees. They provided answers to questions about how BBVA is dealing with the coronavirus crisis and sent a message of hope. “Together we can ensure that the recovery is stronger,” the chairman said. “It is time to step up and make a difference,” and to do so, “ “it is essential that we all – authorities, companies and society a whole – act in a coordinated manner.”
2020 is a fundamental year to consolidate the fight against climate change. Following COP 25 in Madrid at the end of 2019, and in the middle of the UN strategy to pave the way for the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, a global pandemic has simultaneously put the resilience of Earth’s society to the test.
16 Apr 2020
One month before confining at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, chef Jordi Roca opened the doors to the latest proposal to come out of the Roca brothers’ world. Casa Cacao is one of their most personal projects to date, one that’s inspired by the pastry chef’s passion for chocolate. A boutique hotel that houses a chocolate workshop, right in the heart of Girona. Obviously, the hotel’s debut was tarnished by the events that unfolded soon afterwards. The youngest Roca brother is taking this isolation time to ponder about the problems that was the catering and hospitality industry will be facing after things go back to normal.
Although the consequences may be similar, there are significant differences between the economic recession of 2008 and the crisis that has abruptly erupted in 2020, primarily their origins: the Great Recession of 2008 was systemic and first took hold in the financial system; the Great Pandemic of 2020 is a cyclical crisis caused because the economy was brought to a sudden standstill in response to a health crisis. While there is a lot of uncertainty about the outcome, experts say that the rate of recovery depends on the speed with which containment measures are lifted.
15 Apr 2020
BBVA Research has used big data technologies to examine the impact of COVID-19 on Spanish consumption. The conclusions reflect a 49 percent average decline in consumer spending. The analysis has led to a collaboration between researchers at BBVA Research, the University of Cambridge, the Imperial College of London, and the University of Edinburgh. The use of anonymous transactional data to gain a real-time reflection of reactions to the crisis and economic policies was justified for decision-making purposes.
After the simultaneous paralysis of society and numerous economies around the globe resulting from efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, opinions on the relationship between the virus and climate change — how the pandemic is causing a global drop of pollution levels — have been manifold. In the longer term backdrop there is an additional school of thought that is associating global warming with the emergence of new viruses that could represent future threats akin to that of SARS-CoV-2. How is climate change affecting the virulence, emergence, and re-emergence of viral threats?
14 Apr 2020
In order to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis as soon as possible, it is important to adopt measures designed to preserve jobs, especially for SMEs and the self- employed, said BBVA’s Group executive chairman. At this point, “We need to put ourselves in the position of the self employed and business owners,” Carlos Torres Vila said Monday night in an interview with Spanish radio station COPE. In this regard, he stressed the role of banks to help these business endeavors overcome the crisis.
13 Apr 2020
Scientific information, and many essential niche concepts to tackle it, have lept into the spotlight. Understanding certain key scientific concepts behind the battle against COVID-19 and how SARS-CoV-2’s biological mechanisms actually work will allow us to navigate in the sea of information to better gauge the scope of the problem and the prospects concerning the development of potential treatments.
09 Apr 2020
Manuel de León
Research Professor CSIC
08 Apr 2020
While most people across the U.S. are isolating themselves in their homes to protect themselves and loved ones from the COVID-19 outbreak, some are using the time to refinance that very home.
In an op-ed published in El País, Olga Gouveia, Principal Economist at BBVA Research, recalls the importance of banking services – considered essential services by authorities in many countries – in the current crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, banks are part of the solution and the recovery will be faster if they remain capable of financing the economy.
The anti-malaria medication has made headlines in recent weeks as a potential solution against coronavirus. How accurate are these news reports? “Hydroxychloroquine does have properties that could turn it into a new asset,” says Elena Gómez-Díaz, a researcher at the Institute of Parasitology and Biomedicine ‘López-Neyra’ (IPBLN-CSIC) and recipient of a BBVA Foundation Leonardo Grant in 2017. The proven efficiency of hydroxychloroquine in malaria treatments could contribute to speeding up the development of a COVID vaccine.
07 Apr 2020
On Monday, the Country Manager of BBVA in Spain, Peio Belausteguigoitia, held a virtual meeting with the team from bank’s entire business area in Spain (more than 20,000 people) to offer support and update them on the bank’s current situation. The director reported that the bank has managed to adapt to the new situation in record time.
Saving lives and preventing the collapse of intensive care units (ICUs). That is the priority for Spanish hospitals (and those around the world) during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent report by the Gregorio Marañón University Hospital in Madrid, which analyzed one of the non-invasive ventilators from China (Yuwell 730), concludes that “its use is expected to delay or even prevent the need to transfer patients to the ICU, and therefore help to relieve their saturation.”
Older people with limited knowledge about the digital world are especially vulnerable to Internet fraud. The frequency of these attacks has risen notably during COVID-19 social distancing, a time when hackers are taking advantage of the dramatic increase of user time online and the vulnerability of certain groups of people.
06 Apr 2020
BBVA USA today announced its commitment of more than $3.7 million to support organizations that are providing community support in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The funds are earmarked for a combination of community support, including a distribution of $1 million in rapid response funding.
Lending institutions belonging to the Spanish Banking Association (AEB) and the Spanish Federation of Savings Banks (CECA) are joining forces to announce a new voluntary measure to help mortgage customers affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a statement from both entities. People with a mortgage on their first home who are affected economically by the coronavirus outbreak may apply for a deferral of up to 12 months in the capital repayment. Likewise, principal repayments on personal consumer loans are to be deferred for up to six months. This means that these customers will only pay the interests on the mortgage loan, which will reduce considerably the amount they were paying until now.
Thanks to initiatives by BBVA employees, the bank has donated 175 external cell phone batteries to the new IFEMA hospital and 210 blankets to the Alcalá de Henares hospital, both in Madrid.
03 Apr 2020
BBVA’s has increased its initial €25 million commitment to €35 million to be used in to fight the coronavirus pandemic in the countries within its operating footprint. BBVA Group Executive Chairman Carlos Torres Vila recently explained that the bank must “step up” and use everything in its power and all its resources “to save lives, alleviate the economic impact, and help others overcome these difficult times.”
In the last few weeks the international community has called on the innovation ecosystem to band together in a coordinated fight against the coronavirus pandemic. A large number of initiatives have risen to the occasion, encompassing schemes that support startups, developers that propose technical solutions, and requests for institutions to share their data with the scientific community. These projects share a single goal: to combine forces, creativity, and resources in the fight against the virus and its far-reaching effects.
Reducing inequality, one of the key points in the UN’s SDG agenda (SDG stands for Sustainable Development Goals), has become an even more pressing issue in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, which is deepening existing social divides across the globe. María José Roa, researcher, teacher, member of the INFE/OECD Research Committee and winner of the BBVA EduFin Grants 2019, analyzes the root causes and the impact of these inequalities and the role of financial education to reduce them in Latin America.
02 Apr 2020
Organized by the economic magazines, ‘Capital’ and ‘Ekonomist,’ CEO Club Summit is the premier business event in Turkey, and for the first time, it was held virtually as a precaution against COVID-19. Garanti BBVA CEO Recep Bastug was on hand to participate.
01 Apr 2020
On Tuesday March 31st, health care supplies to be used in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic arrived at the Zaragoza airport in northern Spain. The supplies represent a portion of the material that BBVA has secured as a donation for Spain’s health care authorities. The consignment, coming from China, consists of 753 ventilators with an additional 700 surgical masks to be used with the ventilators. A flight carrying additional equipment purchased by the bank also landed in Barcelona on Saturday, with 260 ventilators. The rest of the bank’s donated equipment is expected to arrive shortly. This is the first delivery from BBVA’s committed €35 million in the fight against the virus in all countries where it operates.
“The effects of the pandemic are devastating. Along with the irreparable loss of human life, both the virus and social confinement are contributing to a severe economic dilemma that cuts across society, including such susceptible segments like SMEs and the self-employed. At BBVA, we want to be as close to our customers as possible. Mitigating the socioeconomic impact of the coronavirus pandemic is crucial,” explained Lidia del Pozo, Director of Community Investment Programs at BBVA. During a webinar entitled ‘Responsible Banking during the COVID-19 Crisis,’ organized by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), representatives from financial institutions from around the world shared their strategies for addressing the pandemic and its impact on society.
Financial services are key to helping citizen endure the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis. BBVA firmly believes that banks are a powerful tool to guarantee the protection of the most vulnerable, relieve the financial burden of those suffering the most from this crisis, and provide sufficient financing for the subsequent economic recovery. For this reason, it has launched numerous initiatives around the world to protect its employees and society as a whole, and support customers during this period.
31 Mar 2020
According to the publication released from BBVA Research, When will the U.S. economy recover from the infection?, the experience of countries that have transitioned beyond the worst phase of the pandemic suggest that the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. could peak in the spring or early summer.
BBVA Momentum, BBVA’s program in support of social entrepreneurship, is proud of its participant entrepreneurs who consistently demonstrate their ability to innovate under the most difficult of circumstances. The coronavirus crisis is no exception. A number of the Momentum program’s Spanish startup graduates have put the full weight of their ingenuity and resources into providing workable solutions to improve people’s lives.
In an attempt to capitalize on coronavirus fears, scammers are launching new phishing campaigns with false tips against the virus or links to purchase personal protective equipment to spread their malware among victims or steal their personal information.
30 Mar 2020
As developments with COVID-19 continue to evolve, so does our approach to conducting business safely. At BBVA, we are taking a number of proactive steps to help ensure your access to banking services, while protecting the health and safety of you and our employees. During this difficult time, we have implemented measures, announced offers and provided resources to minimize the impact on you and your banking needs.
BBVA’s Group executive chairman said that the bank has to “step up and make a difference” to do everything in its power to “save lives, mitigate the economic impact, and help others overcome these difficult times.” Carlos Torres Vila also announced that as an act of responsibility with society, customers and clients, shareholders and employees in the current context, “Those of us running the bank on a global level and in the different countries have decided to give up all variable compensation in the year 2020.” In a video made for employees, he maintained that BBVA is facing the COVID-19 crisis from a position of strength.
BBVA Group is staying ahead of the crisis with a global remote working plan that protects customers and employees alike. It has also ensured continued, uninterrupted operations for both consumer and business customers by strengthening digital access to its full suite of services. To contain the spread of COVID-19, BBVA has significantly reduced the number of employees working in its branch offices.
Garanti BBVA has put 10 million Turkish lira (approximately €1.4 million) into a fund to support public hospitals as they contend with the coronavirus pandemic. The money has been earmarked to address the most urgent needs of health care workers.
27 Mar 2020
Small businesses across the country are having to modify their business operations to stay afloat in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. During trying times when unemployment numbers are at historic highs, digital resources have become increasingly necessary.
26 Mar 2020
Researchers, businesses, and innovators around the world are putting technology to work to alleviate the effects of the global health crisis. From applications that collect data to track the spread of the virus to 3D printed ventilators for hospitals: these are some of the various technology projects rising to the occasion in the fight against coronavirus.
BBVA has launched a campaign for employees to do their part to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees who wish to do so, can join this cause through the campaign ‘Your contribution is worth double’ in which the bank will contribute an additional euro for every euro donated by employees.
25 Mar 2020
BBVA USA is providing additional assistance across its footprint to those who have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, including new offers for consumers and small businesses, and specialized benefits for employees.
The Group is to donate €25 million to combat the coronavirus outbreak across its footprint. This week, BBVA will deliver an initial batch of medical equipment, respirators and surgical masks, worth approximately €3 million to Spanish health officials.
One of the paradoxical consequences of the global crisis triggered by the COVID-19 is its impact on the environment. The quarantine is causing sharp declines in pollutant emissions across the world’s most populated cities.
24 Mar 2020
The Spanish Banking Association (AEB) welcome the implementation of the first €20 billion of a €100-billion government financing guarantee line, which is part of the banking industry’s commitment to guaranteeing the liquidity and credit required so that businesses and the self-employed can weather the challenges caused by the COVID-19 health crisis.
BBVA’s Turkish franchise is launching new measures to protect the health of employees, customers and society, while tackling the possible economic challenges generated in Turkey by coronavirus.
BBVA is lighting its corporate headquarters in Madrid as a symbol of its support for the professionals who are fighting day in and day out against coronavirus.
Given the climate of uncertainty created by the rapid expansion of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, it is becoming increasingly relevant to recognize reliable information and avoid spreading online. These are some of the tips provided by UNESCO to achieve this.
23 Mar 2020
Spanish banks are to provide a deferral of up to three months on rent payments for families affected by the coronavirus and living in dwellings belonging to the Spanish Social Housing Fund. This fund was created in 2013 and includes more than 10,000 dwellings in Spain that are the property of lending institutions.
Garanti BBVA, BBVA’s Turkish unit, has implemented a series of proactive measures to address the coronavirus pandemic, currently affecting 176 countries in the world. Garanti BBVA considers the health of its employees’, their families’, and society at large as its most important priority.
Dr. Antoni Trilla, Head of the Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology Unit at Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, volunteered to hold a videoconference with BBVA’s employees in order to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about coronavirus: Can someone who is asymptomatic transmit the virus? Can it be transmitted through contact with pets? How long will the preventive measures last? Is it dangerous to take ibuprofen if you have coronavirus? When will there be a vaccine? Hospital Clinic of Barcelona has compiled all the information available on COVID-19 and in a project undertaken together with the BBVA Foundation, has made it available in a dedicated portal, PortalCLÍNIC.
20 Mar 2020
The spread of coronavirus to several countries has led to a very charged reaction in the markets. The World Health Organization’s declaration of a global COVID-19 pandemic led to a number of immediate actions from the central banks and, concretely, the European Central Bank (ECB), as well as governments and other authorities in Europe. In a note, BBVA Research indicates that “the adoption of these measures is positive.” However, it feels that the monetary policy measures should be accompanied by a coordinated fiscal response from the European Union, which has already begun to materialize in Europe with similar stimulus plans between different countries.
BBVA USA today announced that it would be closing most of its 637 branch lobbies and instead serving customers through its drive-thrus as a proactive measure to protect the health and well-being of customers, employees and communities, as well as do its part to limit the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19.
19 Mar 2020
March has traditionally been the month of financial education, with major events like Global Money Week. However, the postponement of this event due to the coronavirus crisis has made online education take the lead in order to keep the spirit of these days dedicated to financial education.
18 Mar 2020
The health crisis caused by the advance of coronavirus in Spain has put businesses and employees to the test. Recommendations and restrictive measures put in place by the government have all but brought commuting to a standstill. BBVA has adopted these measures in record time thanks to the protocols established in its continuity plans and its commitment to flexible work schemes, which has allowed the bank to continue providing the best service while ensuring the health of both its employees and customers and clients.
BBVA considers protecting the health of its customers and employees a priority, following the state of emergency declared in Spain due to coronavirus. For this reason, the bank recommends that customers do their banking on digital channels (the bbva.es website, the mobile app and BBVA Line) as well as with the more than 2,000 remote advisers. Specifically, the bank’s app makes it possible to bank remotely easily and with total security, and offers an array of tools to help customers control their expenses and personal finances effectively. It is no surprise that for the third year in a row, Forrester Research named it the world’s best mobile banking app in 2019.
17 Mar 2020
The Spanish Banking Association (AEB) supports the economic measures announced today by the Government amidst the coronavirus outbreak in order to avoid a production drop and to back employment. The AEB also expresses its complete disposition to facilitate their implementation and thus mitigate the impact of this crisis on families and businesses.
BBVA USA is offering special assistance to consumer and small business customers impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including penalty-free withdrawals from applicable CDs, ATM fee refunds, and payment deferrals, extensions and waivers on existing loans and lines of credit, among other offers.
BBVA continues taking security measures to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Spain. Starting this Tuesday, the bank is operating its branches with 20 percent of its workforce, guaranteeing service in all municipalities where it has a presence. This measures aims to protect the health of customers and employees, following the recommendations of healthcare authorities.
16 Mar 2020
13 Mar 2020
BBVA shareholders have backed the Group’s corporate management in 2019 with 99.4 percent of the votes at the Annual General Meeting, held on Friday in Bilbao. Quorum has been the highest in the bank’s history: 66.83 percent.
Carlos Torres Vila, Group executive chairman
- Excellent figures: “In 2019 BBVA posted its highest net attributable profit of the past decade without one-offs”
- New strategic priorities: We want “to improve our clients’ financial health and help them transition toward a sustainable future”
- Dividend: BBVA is proposing at the AGM a complementary gross cash dividend of €0.16 per share. The total dividend for the year stands at €0.26 per share, which reflects a 36 percent of attributable profit, excluding the impact of the goodwill adjustment in the U.S.
Onur Genç, Chief executive officer
- Business model: “Once again, we have demonstrated the strength of our diversified model”
- Profitability: “We are number one in terms of profitability,” among 15 largest European banks
11 Mar 2020
In light of the situation resulting from the coronavirus, BBVA recommends not attending the Annual General Meeting in person whenever possible. The AGM is to be held on March 13th, 2020, at the Euskalduna Conference Center in Bilbao. Additionally, in order to allow shareholders to exercise the remote vote, BBVA has extended the deadline to do so until Thursday, March 12, 2020, at 08:00 pm.
10 Mar 2020
BBVA’s 2020 Annual General Shareholders’ Meeting (AGM) is scheduled to be held next March 13, 2020, on first call, at the Euskalduna Conference Center in Bilbao. BBVA wishes and promotes the participation of its shareholders in such an important event for the company. For that reason, the bank has made available to its shareholders the appropriate channels to enable the exercise of their rights remotely, which are described in the Annual General Meeting section on the corporate website.
BBVA is operating as normal after activating additional measures on Tuesday following the recommendations made by the Ministry of Health and the Madrid and Basque regional governments, and after an employee at the bank’s Madrid headquarters tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). Following this positive case, the bank has closed the area where the employee worked, as well as some common spaces as a preventive measure. The rest of the bank’s facilities are operating as normal.