BBVA Group Executive Chairman Carlos Torres Vila underscored the Group's strong commitment to Mexico today. Speaking at the bank’s annual Meeting of Regional Advisors, he noted that the Group has made considerable investments in the country, while sharing its expertise and talent, always focusing on the goal of creating opportunities for Mexican companies, families and its society as a whole. "Mexico has grown with BBVA, and BBVA has grown with Mexico," he said.
Carlos Torres Vila reiterated that BBVA has an important and significant investment commitment to Mexico. “Not only a direct capex investment, both digital and physical, but we will also certainly invest in fostering the loan markets, since we are an important player when it comes to reinvigorating the investment activity of other sectors,” he said.
Carlos Torres Vila began his address at the annual Meeting of Regional Advisors in Mexico City, by reviewing the key points of the country’s economic situation. In 2018, the Mexican economy remained positive, reaching 2 percent growth in a year marked by presidential elections and free trade agreement negotiations with Canada and the United States. 2019, however, has been weighed down by the threat of increased tariffs on all Mexican imports to the U.S., which have “fortunately not materialized thanks to a recent agreement between both countries.” In his opinion, it is very important for both Mexico and the United States not to reopen the tariffs issue and to finally approve the free trade agreement.
As BBVA’s executive chairman explained, Mexico has adopted a clear approach to tackling the challenge of raising local living standards, an approach that includes measures to fight corruption - “a hindrance for growth and equal opportunities” - and reduce violence. He also stressed the importance of increasing social mobility by offering opportunities to everyone through education and the use of technology.
The BBVA chairman referred to the Group’s commitment to education in Mexico through the BBVA Foundation. Specific initiatives he mentioned include school reconstruction programs, the ‘Por los que se quedan’ scholarship program (For those left behind) – which supports Mexican students by encouraging them to pursue high school and college studies - and the ‘Becas para chavos que inspiran’ (Scholarships for kids that are an inspiration), aimed at students with solid academic records entering the public high school system.
BBVA Group Executive Chairman Carlos Torres Vila at the bank’s annual Meeting of Regional Advisors in Mexico.
On a broader note, Carlos Torres Vila referenced the challenges societies face related to the environment and social inclusion. In order to address these challenges, in 2018 BBVA signed up to the Principles for Responsible Banking, which are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Accord. BBVA has already started implementing these principles with its Pledge 2025, which formalizes BBVA’s commitment to mobilize €100 billion between 2018 and 2025, to fight climate change by accelerating the transition to a low carbon economy and to promote sustainable infrastructure, financial inclusion and social entrepreneurship. In 2018 alone, the bank had already raised €12 billion. "At BBVA, we want to be catalysts for change," Torres Vila said.
BBVA’s executive chairman also devoted some time to the Group’s employees, mentioning the ‘Salario de Bienestar BBVA’ program (BBVA Well-Being Salary) rolled out in Mexico. Over 7,000 employee families have already benefited from the initiative since it launched in 2017. The program has facilitated closing the salary gap by 33 percent in just two years.
Carlos Torres Vila also stressed that, in an increasingly digital world, customer experience is the most important factor in any company’s success. "At BBVA, we have been pioneers in digitization, and thanks to this, our customers are increasingly relying on our digital channels to do their banking," he said.
The BBVA executive chairman stressed that the bank’s customer experience has improved in every country it operates, and he reminded the audience that Forrester Research named BBVA Spain’s mobile banking app the best app in the world for two consecutive years and the best European app for three years in a row. “Mexico was the first country where we deployed our global mobile application; with it we provide our customers a completely new experience,” he said.
"In the coming months, users will experience an increasingly broader offer, aimed at helping them to make better financial decisions about their money, their life and their business,” he added.
A global brand
Carlos Torres Vila devoted the last part of his address to the newly launched global brand identity. In his opinion, "this will have huge benefits at local level, in each country across our footprint,” since a unified BBVA underpins the Group's commitment to the countries and from each country’s commitment to the Group and creates more opportunities for customers and employees. For the BBVA chairman, the goal is clear: “Offering a single global value proposition and a consistent user experience, under the same name and with a common identity, but never losing our local strength. In short, a better value proposition for everyone, and for Mexico in particular.”