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Francisco González: "Banks will do new things that we can’t even imagine right now"

A host of CEOs and chairpersons from some of Spain’s leading companies gathered at the BBVA headquarters in Madrid to attend an event organized by the bank and global business research association The Conference Board. During his welcoming speech, BBVA Group Executive Chairman Francisco González said the transformation that is rippling across the banking industry will go far beyond “doing the same things in different ways,” and will require “doing new things that we couldn’t even have imagined with the previous technological infrastructure.”

In this sense, he provided an overview of BBVA’s transformation journey in the past ten years.  “This transformation process is not a matter of simply upgrading the company’s hardware and software.  It is a multidisciplinary effort involving new technology platforms, a new organization, new people and talent, processes, a new corporate culture and new products. ”

Francisco González has pointed out that one of the new things that BBVA is focusing on is “offering truly personalized services to millions of customers in real time through automation via algorithms.”  In this sense, he added that this is the same technique that digital native companies use to power the music and movie recommendation engines in their online stores. “At BBVA, thanks to automation, we are taking our financial advisory capacity to the next level, with transparent management for the customer, with automated individual finance analysis to warn about unusual movements, predict future transactions two months in advance or offer tips on saving, based on goals.”

At BBVA, thanks to automation, we are taking our financial advisory capacity to the next level”

Summing up, the Group Executive Chairman of BBVA stressed that “the speed of this technological revolution is not linear, but exponential, and we are approaching the peak.”  For Francisco González, “the transformation process is irreversible and may be painful, but change is the only way to survive.”  In the case of the financial industry, he forecasted that “21st century banking will be very different from today’s banking and BBVA will be one of the leading players worldwide.”

Responding to Mr. González’ comments, Bart van Ark, Executive Vice-President and Chief Economist at The Conference Board, said: “Given the breathtaking pace of technological change and the way it affects industries across the economy, it is puzzling to many that the productivity of the economy as a whole hasn’t improved much yet. But there are signs that companies who are transforming themselves successfully are reaping the benefits of productivity. The competitive process will ultimately decide the winners and losers”.


Group Executive Chairman of BBVA Francisco González, and Head of BBVA Spain, Cristina de Parias, during the event organized by The Conference Board and BBVA. - BBVA

The meeting was attended by José María Álvarez-Pallete (Telefónica), Ernesto Antolín Arribas (Grupo Antolín), Simón Pedro Barceló (Barceló), Iñaki Ereño (Sanitas), Gabriel Escarrer (Meliá), José Manuel Vargas (AENA), Antonio Pérez Ostos (BidaFarma), Elena Pisonero (Hispasat) and José Manuel Villanueva (Privalia, Grupo Vente-Privée).

The executives debated about sustainable growth in the era of digital transformation and, subsequently, on the new developments in American politics and their relationship with the business world.

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