BBVA won the Spanish Company category of the third annual Spanish-Turkish Official Chamber of Commerce and Industry prizes, which recognize achievements in promoting mutual understanding between the two countries. At the event, Jorge Sáenz de Azcúnaga, BBVA’s Director of Country Monitoring, said BBVA’s Turkish subsidiary Garanti Bank is one of the pillars of the group’s transformation.
The award was announced during at a ceremony this week attended by company executives, government officials and diplomats from the two countries, including Ömer Önhon, Turkey´s ambassador in Madrid. The Spanish-Turkish Chamber´s annual prizes go to people, institutions or companies that have made distinguished contributions to achieving greater understanding and closer relations between the two countries.
The Spanish Company prize was presented to BBVA by Francisco Javier Garzón Morales, of Spain’s Foreign Trade Institute (ICEX). He underscored the leading role the BBVA Group has taken in the Turkish financial system. “BBVA has made the largest investment by a Spanish company in this market,” Garzón Morales said.
The BBVA Group in 2010 acquired a 25% interest in Garanti Bank of Turkey for 4.2 billion euros. It has since raised its participation to 49.85%, becoming the largest shareholder in Garanti, Turkey´s second-largest bank by asset size.
The awarded by the Spanish-Turkish Chamber. From left to right: Turhan Semizer, CEO of Standard Profil; José Lladó Fernández-Urrutia, President of Técnicas Reunidas, and Jorge Sáenz-Azcúnaga, director of Country Monitoring at BBVA. - BBVA
Garanti, at the forefront of digital transformation
In accepting the award, Jorge Sáenz de Azcúnaga, BBVA’s Director of Country Monitoring, recalled that Garanti is the leading Turkish bank in profitability and solvency, and has been showing robust growth and prudent risk management. “But just as important is the fact that Garanti is at the forefront of digital transformation, not just at the local level, but also internationally.”
“Garanti shares with BBVA a clear vision of the transformation of the finance industry. It is, in fact, one of the pillars of the transformation of the BBVA Group,” said Sáenz de Azcúnaga, who is also vice-president of Garanti.
Jorge Sáenz-Azcúnaga during his speech at the Spanish-Turkish Chamber. - BBVA
Garanti currently has a 25% market share in digital banking among retail customers. Nearly 35% of its sales are digital, one of the highest percentages in the BBVA Group.
Sáenz de Azcúnaga said BBVA’s investment in Turkey are part of its strategy in emerging markets, where it has a clear competitive advantage. “BBVA knows how to work in emerging markets - which by definition have greater volatility - by doing universal banking,” he said.
He also reaffirmed the bank´s commitment to Turkey itself, saying it is “one of BBVA¨s most important markets.”
The Turkish market offers a number of attractive features: a population of 80 million people, of which 38% are under 18 years of age; positive prospects for economic growth; and a powerful middle class, which translates into a banked population eligible to obtain credit.