Onur Genç: “In 3 to 5 years, we will see a bigger BBVA, with more customers”
BBVA CEO Onur Genç said Tuesday at an annual conference organized by Bank of America that he envisions “a larger BBVA” in three to five years, “without compromising profitability and capital discipline,” with a broader customer base. The bank will give more details about the future strategy at its next Investor Day, to be held November 18.
In the last year and a half, BBVA's strategy has been reinforced as a result of the acceleration of trends driven by the COVID-19 crisis, such as digitalization or the commitment to more sustainable and inclusive development. On this point, the CEO highlighted that the bank's strategic priorities are key levers for capturing growth opportunities. For example, BBVA has captured 37% of new customers through digital channels in the first half of 2021, versus 21% in the same period of 2019.
In line with this strategy, Onur Genç underlined BBVA's commitment to invest its surplus capital, through profitable growth in its markets and increased shareholder remuneration. Capital returns guide all the Group's investment decisions. In this respect, the bank’s growth plans are also assessed on a capital return basis, he pointed out. For this reason, “if there are no further alternatives for profitable growth that allow us to deploy this excess capital, we will give it back to shareholders.”
After announcing the sale of its U.S. subsidiary, BBVA announced its intention to initiate a buyback of up to 10% of its shares. “We expect to begin the share buyback in the fourth quarter of 2021, once we receive supervisory approval," it said.
BBVA, the bank that attracted the most new customers in Spain in 2021
In Spain, the bank is focused on revenue growth, said Onur Genç. This strategy is producing visible results, among which the CEO mentioned the expansion of the customer base; growth in segments with higher value, such as cards, consumer credit, and small business lending; and the increase in non-financial income. Thus, BBVA is the bank that has attracted the most new customers in Spain in 2021, with an exponential increase in the last two years thanks to its digital capabilities. Specifically, in the first half of the year, BBVA captured 48% of new customers in Spain through digital channels, compared to 24% in the same period of 2019.
With regard to Mexico, “we are focused on continuing to increase our client base,” said Onur Genç. In fact, in the last four and a half years, “we have increased our number of target customers in Mexico by 66%,” without increasing the number of branches. The CEO recalled that BBVA Mexico is a very profitable franchise that has shown extraordinary resilience throughout this crisis. In this market, it expects to maintain high profitability thanks to its strategy of profitable growth, an increased customer base and a more favorable macroeconomic environment.
Onur Genç also reaffirmed BBVA's commitment to Turkey, a country with good macroeconomic prospects, in terms of size, growth, young population and industrial fabric. "We are a long-term investor," he said.
Asked about the bank's digital strategy, Onur Genç explained the bank's four-step transformation process: first, to serve its customers digitally; second, to accelerate the growth of digital sales; third, to increase the customer base; and last but not least, to provide proactive and personalized advice to its customers, backed by technology and data. In the words of its CEO, “this strategy has enabled BBVA to expand its customer base and, at the same time, improve its operational efficiency.”