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Life and Culture

Life and Culture

BBVA’s emblematic headquarters building in Madrid will be lit with a black ribbon for the 10 day mourning period decreed by the Spanish government, which began yesterday. The bank, which has devoted its efforts to help combat the health emergency, is therefore joining the tribute to the victims of the disease.

Essential remote working has forced a change to on-site employee training plans. BBVA had already espoused a culture of online learning before the pandemic, offering its staff a comprehensive digital training catalog via the Campus BBVA platform. The platform has been refreshed to adapt to employee needs during the weeks of confinement. Employee response has been positive: traffic to the training portal shot up 96 percent with more than two million sessions during the first month of lockdown. A review of the most consumed topics reveals employees’ growing interest in developing new competencies (data, design, sustainability), which are priority for BBVA and and even more apropos given the new reality that awaits.

Joaquín Dopazo is leading a project that uses a machine learning algorithm to identify proteins involved in the illness and cross match this information with a database of drugs used to treat other conditions. “We checked if some of the proteins detected are therapeutic targets of other medications approved for other uses, and we concluded that these treatments could act on the mechanisms that COVID-19 uses to cause harm,” says the researcher, who in 2018 won a BBVA Foundation team grant in the Big Data category.

Laura Lechuga, research professor at Spain’s National Scientific Research Council (CSIC) and group leader in the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2), is heading up the ambitious CoNVaT project. CoNVat aims to produce a rapid, inexpensive, and highly sensitive test for diagnosing COVID-19 from the first day of infection. “It won’t only indicate if the virus is present or not, but it will also reveal its concentration. This is important because it gives an idea about how  advanced the infection is,” she explains. The new test should be ready in less than a year, in time for future waves of the pandemic.

What does a company bring to society? What role does it play? Why does a brand exist? These questions can be answered in many ways, each answer hinting at the company’s “what for”, the reason that drives it and defines how it engages with society, its purpose.

In an interview published by the financial newspaper Expansión, BBVA’s CEO explains what the coronavirus crisis has been like for him, and how the bank has adapted its operations to continue providing customers the same service. “It is very rewarding to see how our teams have adjusted to the challenges posed by this scenario,” he said. Onur Genç thinks the crisis is going to have a major impact on the economy and businesses, and that now is the time  “when we – the banks – need to stand by our customers more than ever before, and be part of the solution to this crisis.”