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Coronavirus Updated: 07 Apr 2020

Peio Belausteguigoitia: "Together, we have to make this a crisis that lasts a limited amount of time"

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.

Peio Belausteguigoitia

The Country Manager of BBVA in Spain opened his meeting with the employees (held via streaming) with a message of support for the whole workforce, especially those who have been affected by COVID-19, who have lost a family member or a loved one.

“When we face complex situations and especially on this occasion, I feel even prouder to be a part of BBVA, not only because of our strength as a company, but above all, because of the quality of the human team. The dedication and generosity with customers and colleagues have demonstrated the commitment of this great team. I am moved by your response,” said the Country Manager of BBVA in Spain.

In this regard, he underscored the role of the network and the approximately 1,800 employees who continue going to the branches to be able to offer in-person service to those who need it.

Peio Belausteguigoitia also recalled that banks are considered an essential service and the branches must therefore remain open. “We have worked hard to find a model that follows the established rules, serving customers based on turnout criteria, but reducing staff to the minimum,” he added. “But we have adapted ‘in record time’ thanks to BBVA’s investments in technology over the past decade, the cultural change in work methods, and the bank’s strength,” he emphasized.

With all of our capacities dedicated to customers, we have 90 percent of the advisors working remotely and 10 percent in the offices. Thanks to the efforts of the entire team, “We have contacted more than eight million customers over the different channels in order to make their financial management easier, explaining to them how to operate and answering their questions, without them having to leave their homes,” Peio Belausteguigoitia said at the meeting, in which he also answered questions from employees.

A sound bank

In terms of the economic impact that coronavirus could have on the economy, Peio Belausteguigoitia noted that BBVA is approaching the crisis from a position of strength compared to its competitors.

The Spanish economy will experience a significant contraction in 2020, but that said, “BBVA is facing this period from a position of strength, with a solid capital and liquidity position. At no point has it considered taking measures like collective layoffs, or temporary layoffs. This is currently not an option that is under consideration at BBVA,” said Peio Belausteguigoitia.

It is also important to focus on the future, “We have already started to define lines of work for after the crisis and we have to be close to our customers, now more than ever before,” stressed the Country Manager of BBVA in Spain, who added that, “Together, we have to make this a crisis that lasts a limited amount of time.” In this regard, he also recalled that since the start of the crisis, the bank has made solutions available to help both individuals and companies to mitigate the impact of coronavirus, beyond those announced by the government.

Supportive measures for the health crisis

Since the onset of this extraordinary situation, BBVA Group executive chairman has stated that banks must be part of the solution. And BBVA has set in motion all of its capacities in order to contribute with healthcare materials, and with financial measures for individuals and companies to alleviate the impact and overcome this situation.

In this sense, Peio Belausteguigoitia, underscored the search for corporate solution through different initiatives, such as the €25 billion made available to the productive network through quick loans, or by financing the self-employed and SMEs, facilitating new lines of credit through the Official Credit Institute (ICO).

BBVA has also launched initiatives to facilitate the payment of mortgages and loans for six months, and has permitted rent deferrals for homes that are part of the Social Housing Fund.

Measures were adopted that have enabled our retired customers to avoid lines to receive their pension, and they were able to access it in cash from any ATM in Spain free of charge. All of this, thanks to phone contact with more than 250,000 retirees and their families. The bank has also made receiving unemployment payments easier, and enabled staggered payments.

Peio Belausteguigoitia also spoke of the BBVA Group’s commitment to allocate €35 million to fight COVID-19 in the countries where it operates, especially for the purchase of priority healthcare materials. So far, amid global shortages, two shipments of medical equipment have arrived in Spain with 1,013 ventilators that were already distributed to different hospitals, and 400,000 masks will arrive this week.

Furthermore, the Country Manager of BBVA in Spain thanked employees for their response to a fundraising campaign in which BBVA has committed to donate the same amount its workforce in Spain contributes. BBVA also joined the charitable campaign ‘Help the Red Cross’ through Bizum, which has already raised €400,000. “These contributions are a sign of all of our commitment, and society’s commitment to more vulnerable groups. We should be very proud of this response,” he said.