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Interview 12 December 2019

A Q&A with BBVA USA's new Austin CEO, Jon Rebello

In November, BBVA USA made the announcement that it appointed Jon Rebello as its new Austin CEO, taking over a booming market in both the digital and economic landscape.

 

With an eclectic market to oversee, and an experienced team behind him, Rebello is more than ready to make the jump from his old position of Texas Border and Gulf Coast CEO to his current position – a landing spot well-earned over the course of a long and successful banking career.

Below is a Q&A with Jon, where he talks about his background, his love of banking, his not-so-typical workday and an electric scooter ride that served as a crowning moment of sorts.

More information below:

Alejandro Ortiz

Can you give me your background, both personally and professionally?

Jon Rebello

I’m originally from Boston and my major was in finance. The first job I took out of college was with a startup bank in Los Angeles. It was really a great place for me to start my career, because I think with a smaller startup bank, you get to wear many different hats. I got exposed to many different areas of banking very early on. I spent about five years there, then came back to the northeast to work for banks in both Boston and New York City. Then in 2001, I had an opportunity to come to Texas - I saw all the tremendous growth happening here, and I thought it was a great time to be here. I’ve been a part of BBVA since 2006 when they first came to the U.S. Most recently serving as the CEO for the Texas Border and Gulf Coast. From a personal standpoint, my wife Laura and I have identical twin daughters - Allison and Courtney - who recently graduated from college. They both work and live in New York City, so we’re excited about having direct flights from Austin to New York to visit them.

Alejandro Ortiz

Who are some of your biggest influences throughout your career?

Jon Rebello

I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of great bosses and colleagues who I have really learned a lot from - but there are also many clients who I’ve done business with over the years who I’ve learned so much from. I’ve worked my entire career in banking and it’s been great because I continue to be energized and inspired by the innovative thinking and entrepreneurial spirit that our customers have. When you look at my typical work day, it’s fresh and exciting because it’s never the same. One day I might be meeting with a developer who is building affordable housing. The next day I’m meeting with a doctor who’s building a pediatric clinic. And another day with a client who develops software for the shipping industry. We work with so many different industries and I’m always learning more.

Alejandro Ortiz

Can you provide detail on your management style?

Jon Rebello

It’s all about building relationships, not only with clients, but also with our employees. Many businesses struggle with employee turnover. One of the things I’m most proud about in my previous role is that we really had zero turnover. One of my favorite events each year at BBVA is our Annual Service Awards where we celebrate employee work anniversaries. I’m always amazed to see employees being recognized who have been with us for 20, 30 or even 40 years. While I love BBVA’s industry-leading products, services and technology, at the end of the day, it’s really our people that make the difference.

Alejandro Ortiz

What are some accomplishments that you take pride in the most?

Jon Rebello

I’ve always worked hard, and I’ve been able to - no matter what the market is - build and sustain profitable growth for the bank. But the thing I’m most proud of is as we’ve grown, we’ve been able to give back to the community and really support important causes and make people’s lives better. Whether it’s volunteer work, or grants from the BBVA Foundation, or the community boards in which we serve, the commitment from BBVA to really give back to the communities that we serve is really important to me.

Alejandro Ortiz

What do you think made you so successful in the Border and Gulf Coast markets?

Jon Rebello

I think I bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the job, but I’m also really proud of the culture of diversity and inclusion that we’ve created. I’m proud of the bankers and leadership team that we’ve built in Texas Border and Gulf Coast. And I’m really looking forward to bringing that same approach to Austin.

Alejandro Ortiz

What are some of your initial plans to get your feet wet in the Austin market?

Jon Rebello

Well we’re already hitting the ground running! I’ve already been able to spend time with our clients, bankers, and advisory board members. We’ve been out there meeting so many great people here in Austin and the surrounding communities. It’s been a lot of fun. We also want to make sure that our plans at BBVA for 2020 and beyond align with those of the people and business community in Austin.

Alejandro Ortiz

What's the thing you're most excited about as far as moving to Austin is concerned? Personally and professionally?

Jon Rebello

I’m excited that we’ve already found a place to live in downtown Austin. We’re looking forward to living that urban, Austin lifestyle! And I’ve already been initiated. I rode my first scooter home from dinner the other night, so I’ve been told that officially makes me an Austinite (laughs). There are so many great things about Austin and its quality of life. I’m really looking forward to experiencing the music and dining scenes and all of the cool things the city has to offer. Above and beyond that, I want to get involved with some local community boards and do volunteer work. We really want to plant some deep roots here in Austin for many years to come.

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