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Opinion 14 December 2020

2020, a year to build a better future

The chairman and CEO of BBVA jointly address the bank’s employees in a post on the internal blog, The Pulse. Both take stock of the year that is coming to an end, but above all, look forward to 2021 with hope: "This crisis has shown that we are the best team and that, together, not only can we tackle huge challenges, but we can also take advantage of all the opportunities that this new environment affords us."

Hello, everybody!

It’s hard to believe, but we are already reaching the end of 2020. It’s been a year full of emotion that has spurred major changes in our lives, where we have had to learn to keep our distance, see each other through a mask or a webcam, and turn our homes into offices.

Unfortunately, many of us have also had to say goodbye to loved ones. Onur and I send you all our support, and our hearts and prayers go out to everyone who has experienced such tragic loss, especially all our colleagues in the bank who have passed away.

This has also been the year in which we have lived our Values intensely and have felt prouder than ever to be part of this amazing BBVA team. From the beginning, you have all taken a step forward, making it possible to donate medical supplies when it was most needed; standing tall to keep supporting our customers in their time of need; and giving it all you got along the way. That is why we want to join the round of applause that a group of customers dedicated to you (video) to thank you for standing by them when they needed it most.

Thanks to your dedication and effort, we are coming out of 2020 stronger than ever. The crisis has proven that the strategic priorities we presented to you at the beginning of this year are more important than ever. Our digital capabilities played a critical role during the most difficult times of the pandemic, which allowed us to stay close to our customers, even when we were operating nearly 100 percent remotely. Every one of you helped make this milestone possible.

Despite such a challenging environment, we have continued to advance our transformation with incredible initiatives. Because we cannot stand still, we must continue to help our clients achieve their goals, improve their financial health, and tackle the enormous challenge of sustainability.

We have also made very important strategic moves, such as the agreement to sell our US subsidiary to PNC for €10 billion. This is an excellent deal that recognizes the enormous value of our business, our clients, and our amazing team in the United States, which will become part of a leading financial group in the country once the transaction is closed. To all our colleagues in the US: Thank you for your great work all these years, and we wish you all the best in this new phase full of opportunities.

The sale of our subsidiary in the USA puts us in a very solid financial position, which is invaluable in the current environment of uncertainty, and it affords us the great strategic option of continuing to invest profitably in our markets and increase shareholder value.

In short, our leadership position in the markets across our footprint, our solid capital position, and prudent and early risk management have allowed us to face this crisis from a position of strength. A strength that will allow us to support our clients and take advantage of opportunities during the recovery phase.

We look forward to 2021 with high hopes. Although the number of COVID-19 cases remains high and we are not yet safe from further waves of COVID-19—please follow protection guidelines, especially the recommendation to use masks in enclosed spaces at all times—we are optimistic about the progress in vaccine development and the fact that distribution is already beginning in some countries.

That is why we want to send you a message of hope. This crisis has shown that we are the best team and that, together, not only can we tackle huge challenges, but we can also take advantage of all the opportunities that this new environment affords us. Banks have a very important role to play in supporting families and businesses during the recovery, and at BBVA, we will continue to work in this direction to achieve more sustainable and inclusive development.

Although every year we take stock of what has happened and celebrate our achievements, on this occasion we would particularly like to thank you for your incredible work, your effort, and your dedication: although we know it has not been easy, this year you have managed to outdo yourselves!

Take care!

Carlos and Onur