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Innovation

Innovation

BBVA’s digital development strategy of the past several years is now strongly supporting the digital management of customers’ finances. The implementation of agile work methodologies, DevOps practices—coordination across different teams throughout software development—and a global perspective were key for digital solutions to provide value and become scalable among business units and countries. Thanks to BBVA’s commitment to technology and new ways of working, the bank was able to guarantee service quality, adapt its way of working—with 90% of employees working from home—and, at the same time, enhance its response capacity.

The process of choosing startups in open innovation is proving increasingly difficult in the face of the proliferation of emerging companies globally. BBVA has various scouting mechanisms, and to do this it takes into account factors such as the degree of maturity, whether the solution dovetails with the bank’s needs, and the entrepreneurial team’s passion.

BBVA in Spain’s mobile banking app adds an average of 60 new features every year. Users especially appreciated the ability to manage their finances on the app during the lockdown. They also value the channel’s speed – the app opens in just two seconds – and how easy it is to use.  Bank customers gave the app a score of 4.7 on Google – the highest in the industry and close to the maximum score of 5. The app reached this score after the outbreak of the pandemic, when it became and essential tool.

Beyond hastening the adoption of specific technologies – such as telemedicine or robotics – one of the brightest outcomes of the scenario brought about by the coronavirus pandemic has been the unprecedented collaborative spirit that has emerged, which could unleash deeper changes in technological development in the coming years. The challenges posed by the coronavirus aftermath may lead to increasing levels of data sharing and faster deployment of solutions to preserve privacy, which could help lay the foundation for new digital infrastructures.

A few weeks ago some colleagues from a development team told us about their worries on the JSON Web tokens (JWT) generation they were doing as part of a new tool integration they were working on. They had heard about several security issues regarding the use of JWT tokens so they asked us for help in order to validate if the tokens they were issuing were correct and met some basic security requirements.

We are currently working on a project to help automate security tests, APICheck, which we’ve recently released as open source. APICheck is comprised of a set of small tools that can be pipe chained in order to run several tests on API requests, so we got down to work with the development of a new tool for validating the JWT they were issuing, jwt-checker, in which we’ve implemented the ability to pass the validations on the tokens we’ll talk about. Below I’ll show you an example of a test implemented using the tool.

In its third year, the BBVA global ninja hackathon took place virtually for the first time. Local teams representing the digital talent community from seven of the bank’s operating countries participated in the event. Despite the separation by distance, more than 1,000 BBVA ninjas joined the initiative, helping their teams solve technological challenges created by Amazon Web Services (AWS). At this year’s event, U.S. team SQL Injection emerged as the global winner.

BBVA Group executive chairman Carlos Torres Vila participated in this year’s virtual edition of South Summit, the leading fintech event, where he spoke about the challenges facing the banking sector and financial technology in a post-COVID-19 world. “If we are going to have a rapid recovery, the only way is with a model of sustainable and inclusive development,” he added. “Technology and data are the key ingredients, together with people –all of you entrepreneurs who produced ideas– to drive the sustainability agenda.”