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"BBVA faces 2023 with confidence and prospects for profitable growth in our main markets"

Carlos Torres Vila, Chair

  • Customers: “We added more than 11 million new customers in 2022. We reach more people and we can increase the positive impact of our activity”
  • Lending: “Last year we helped more than 100,000 families purchase their home and we financed nearly half a million SMEs and the self-employed”
  • Shareholder distributions: BBVA is proposing to the AGM the distribution of €3.02 billion in dividends and a share buyback program

Onur Genç, CEO

  • Results: Underscore “the trend of rising profits over the past ten years,” with the exception of the year of Covid
  • Soundness: “Risk management has always been one of our strengths”
  • Employees: “For BBVA, having the best, most diverse and committed team is a strategic priority and we work hard for this to be a reality”

BBVA is holding its Annual General Meeting at the Euskalduna Conference Center in Bilbao this Friday. The Chair of the bank, Carlos Torres Vila, analyzed the global macroeconomic situation, marked by uncertainties in financial markets and geopolitical, inflationary and interest rate tensions. In this context, BBVA produced solid figures in 2022, while increasing distributions to shareholders. Carlos Torres Vila assured that “despite the uncertainty and market volatility, at BBVA we face 2023 with confidence and prospects for profitable growth in our main markets.” “It is at times like these when the strength and soundness of the business model and of the risk management of BBVA stand out the most,” he said.

On the economic front, the BBVA Chair spoke of the effects of the invasion of Ukraine, which, in addition to previous factors like the bottlenecks created during the pandemic, have led to the highest inflation of the past 25 years. “High inflation poses an enormous challenge for families, reducing their purchasing power - especially those who are more vulnerable,” he added.

In order to tackle inflation, “central banks have raised interest rates at a speed never seen before,” which represents an additional burden for household finances. “We are aware of this and are looking for answers. The banking industry as a whole has moved forward with sector-wide measures, such as the expansion of the Spanish Code of Best Practices, which we joined. We are also offering our customers further options to help with mortgage payments,” Carlos Torres Vila stressed.

Furthermore, he explained that “interest rate hikes are also impacting financial markets, causing episodes of volatility and uncertainty like what we are seeing this very week.”

Looking to the future, he underscored the improvement of the outlook for 2023, “with forecasts for higher growth in practically all countries where we have a presence.” In Spain, the economy will grow 1.6 percent in 2023. according to BBVA Research.

The Chair made a special mention of the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, “which hit very close to home at BBVA.” Furthermore, he expressed his pride in the supportive response from employees, customers and shareholders to collect basic goods and donations for those affected.

In fact, the team that makes up BBVA represents “the bank’s greatest strength and is the foundation of our success all of these years, and also in 2022,” Carlos Torres Vila said. Together with the team, the BBVA Chair mentioned two other key strengths: leading franchises in very attractive markets, with excellent performance throughout the year; and a strategic, pioneering leadership in digitization, innovation and sustainability - “distinguishing factors that propel BBVA’s growth in a profitable and sustainable manner.”

Of all of BBVA’s accomplishments in 2022, Carlos Torres Vila underscored the acquisition of more than 11 million new customers around the world. “The pace of new customer acquisition has more than doubled from five years ago,” he added. This is closely tied to BBVA’s commitment to digitization, as 55 percent of new customers join the bank through digital channels, compared to seven percent five years ago.

BBVA Chair Carlos Torres Vila, during the AGM 2023.

“We currently serve nearly 70 million active customers worldwide and with our main activity, lending, we help them meet their personal, family and business needs,” he said. “For this reason, it is so significant to grow in customers because we reach more people and we can increase the positive impact of our activity.”

The BBVA Chair provided figures that confirm this statement. Last year BBVA increased the amount of credit granted by €42 billion, a 13 percent increase from 2021. “In 2022, we helped more than 100,000 families purchase their home and we provided financing for nearly half a million SMEs and the self-employed, as well as more than 70,000 larger companies.” “This is a key role that banks play in society: we stimulate activity, mobilize savings turning them into productive investments, contributing to the economic and social growth through lending.”

Part of this lending goes to finance inclusive development. Specifically, “in 2022, we channeled €9.4 billion to initiatives of this kind, including social infrastructure such as hospitals and schools, social mortgages and insurance policies, as well as financing low-income customers,” he emphasized. "Likewise, we have specially focused on serving vulnerable groups and those that require a distinct service, such as the elderly," he said.

This growth in customers and activity, a pioneering strategy, leading franchises and the best team have led to very good financial results. Carlos Torres Vila specifically pointed to three aspects of BBVA’s figures in 2022. First, the recurring net attributable profit of €6.62 billion, the best in BBVA’s history. Second, leading profitability in Europe of around 15 percent. Third, the increase in tangible book value per share, which together with dividends paid last year, grows nearly 20 percent over the year.

All of the above illustrates how BBVA has continued to create value for its shareholders in 2022, with a significant increase in payout and reinvestment in the business to continue growing and having a positive impact. BBVA is proposing to this AGM the distribution of €3.02 billion through the payment of a €0.43 cash dividend per share - nearly 40 percent more than the amount paid against 2021 earnings -, of which €0.12 were paid last October, and a new €422 million share buyback program.

In addition to the dividend, BBVA shareholders also benefit from the increase in the share price. “In 2022, the total return for shareholders including both concepts stood at 15 percent,” Carlos Torres Vila noted.

The BBVA Chair commented on the sharp market drops over the past few days, “triggered by specific circumstances surrounding certain banks in the U.S. and Europe. It is at times like these when the strength and soundness of the business model and of the risk management of BBVA stand out the most,” he said.

The Chair also reflected back over the past four years: “Since 2019, the total return for our shareholders to date has been 65 percent.” This figure compares with 30 percent for the Stoxx 600 index of European banks and just 7 percent in the case of Spanish banks.”

Carlos Torres Vila went on to explain how these figures allow the bank to reinvest in its business and, therefore, in society as a whole from different angles. First of all, by paying taxes. Thus, “in 2022 our activity resulted in an unprecedented fiscal contribution of nearly €11 billion in own and third-party taxes.” Second, BBVA creates jobs. Over the past year, almost 11,000 people joined the Group.” Third, BBVA supports society through its Community Commitment. “At the end of 2022, we had surpassed €230 million, 43 percent of the total, benefiting more than 62 million people.”

Carlos Torres Vila took a moment to elaborate on the work of the BBVA Microfinance Foundation, which is celebrating 15 years of supporting vulnerable entrepreneurs, mostly women; and the role of the BBVA Foundation, which fosters knowledge and research in economic, cultural and scientific fields.

Taking a longer-term perspective, the BBVA Chair spoke of “the major trends - innovation and sustainability - that will continue to transform the economy and our societies” and which are the foundation of the bank’s strategic vision. In 2022 BBVA has continued to make progress in these strategic pillars. First, sustainability, which “is already producing growing business figures.” This has led to “raise our sustainable finance goal through 2025,” to €300 billion.

Carlos Torres Vila underscored the role of BBVA in financing the investments needed for decarbonization, and in supporting its clients with advice and financing in their transition plans. This role allows the bank to meet both its commitment to be completely neutral in carbon emissions by 2050, setting very clear emission goals by 2030 in six sectors (power generation, automobile manufacturing, steel, cement, coal, oil and gas), which will extend to aviation and shipping in 2023.

The second pillar of BBVA’s strategy is digitization and innovation. For BBVA, the use of new technologies and data not only allow it to help improve customers’ financial health, but also to increase customer satisfaction. Technology also opens the door to growth in new markets, such as BBVA in Italy, and supports innovative businesses through BBVA Spark.

For Carlos Torres Vila, “2022 was a year of great achievements for the bank, not only for its excellent results, but also for the positive impact of its activity on society.” To summarize, “in 2023 we will continue to foster economic and social growth, creating opportunities for everyone,” he said.

BBVA CEO Onur Genç, during the AGM 2023.

The right strategy and focus on performance, key factors for BBVA

After Carlos Torres Vila finished his speech, the CEO took the floor. In his presentation, Onur Genç stressed not only BBVA’s results in 2022, but also “the trend of rising profits over the past ten years,” with the exception of the year of Covid.

In his opinion, it is very important that growth materializes in a profitable and efficient manner. “We are leaders among the 15 largest banks in Europe in loan growth, ROTE and efficiency,” he said. Furthermore, BBVA maintains a suitable risk profile, which “guarantees our future success.” “Risk management has always been one of our strengths,” he added.
For Onur Genç, “the Group’s results are the result of the outstanding performance in all countries where we have a presence”, and a positive evolution of all business areas.

The CEO also went over BBVA’s strengths: leading franchises with profitability above competitors, capital strength, leadership in digitization, innovation and sustainability, and the best team.

Regarding the latter, Onur Genç said he was proud of the “constant progress in our employees’ commitment. For BBVA, having the best, most diverse and committed team is a strategic priority and we work hard for this to be a reality.” In this regard, he stressed that BBVA was recognized for the second time by Gallup as an ‘Exceptional Workplace.’

The CEO underlined that BBVA is “on the right path to meet all the ambitious, long-term goals we set for ourselves at the Investor Day in 2021.” Looking to the future, Onur Genç underscored that BBVA will continue to rely on its strengths, spearheading the new wave of innovation. “We are firmly committed to continuing to create value,” he concluded.

Results of shareholder's voting

All items on the agenda of the shareholders meeting have been approved.