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Francisco González: “Our organizational structure is unlike any other in the global banking industry”

BBVA Chairman & CEO Francisco González pointed out today that the banks of the future will be software companies focusing on turning data into useful knowledge to offer the best solutions for each customer. To deliver these services, banks will need to tackle a profound transformation, engaging the company at all levels. BBVA embarked on its transformation process eight years ago and today has an organizational structure unlike any other in the global banking industry, said Francisco González.

Francisco González took part in the first of a series of Business Meetings organized by CEOE, the Spanish Confederation of Employers’ Associations, and CEPYME, the Spanish Organization of Small & Medium Enterprises.  Chairman Francisco González devoted the opening statements of his address to analyze the current economic environment. In his opinion, the key to the weak global recovery after the crisis lies in the developed countries, which continue to post very modest growth rates. In this context, he underscored how Spain has managed to pull itself out of the situation in which it was four years ago.

This radical change is, to a large extent, the result of a very relevant set of reforms that the country has undertaken, which have increased the level of flexibility and competitiveness of our economy, said Francisco González. BBVA’s Chairman and CEO underlined how Spain has become one of the drivers of growth in Europe, with 3.2% and about 3% growth rates expected for this year and 2016, respectively.

Considering the current context, Francisco González said that “the last thing Spain needs is uncertainty.”  “And maximum uncertainty is what you get when public authorities openly defy the law in pursuance of a goal that divides society, generates severe political conflict and hurts everyone’s growth and well-being prospects,” he asserted.

For Francisco González it is essential that, regardless of the results of the upcoming general elections, the new Government should be strong and stable, and committed to ensuring sustained growth.

Regarding the banking industry, Chairman Francisco González once again emphasized how important it is to improve efficiency in a particularly demanding environment, where economies are undergoing a global develeraging process, with very low interest rates and a much more stringent regulatory framework. Although consolidation is one of the most common mechanisms to improve efficiency, technological progress is another one of the most powerful factors to achieve it, said Francisco González.

Picture Francisco González at the business meetings organized by CEOE BBVA

Besides the efficiency challenge, the financial industry is facing a much needed transformation to meet its customers’ needs in the digital era. BBVA’s Chairman and CEO reminded attendees of about the hundreds of startups that are already taking over different segments of the value chain. Payments, loans, security trading, asset management, insurance and even deposits, are areas into which an ever growing number of better-funded newcomers are already focusing. This year, the so-called FinTech will attract over $25 billion in new capital funds, he explained.

For Francisco González, “new generations of customers are demanding other services and ways of accessing them. While the banking industry remains essential, banks are less and less so.”

The key to success for the banks that survive in the new competitive environment will be to maximize the use of data to their customers’ benefit, according to Francisco González. The banks of the future will be software companies focusing on turning these data into useful knowledge to offer the best solutions for each customer. But, in order to deliver those services, banks will need to tackle a profound transformation, engaging the company at all levels: hardware, software, processes, distribution models, marketing, design, and other spheres, such as culture, a key driver of change.

A transformation process in which BBVA embarked eight years ago, starting with the foundations, the technological infrastructure, and which today is spreading at increasing rates throughout the BBVA Group as a whole. In May, BBVA announced a new structure that brings new digital capabilities to its top management level, essential to compete in the new environment. “Our organizational structure is unlike any other in the global banking industry,” said Francisco González.

To wrap things up, Francisco González underscored that “the digital race is run on a track without a finish line or an established course. Not even the rules for this new banking industry have been established. And this is what makes the race even more exciting.”

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