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Opinion Updated: 07 April 2020

Inspiring stories from my BBVA

In the internal blog ‘The Pulse’, BBVA CEO Onur Genç, shares a few inspiring stories from BBVA during the coronavirus outbreak. These are stories of kindness, of overcoming difficulties, and of courage. The common thread among them is that they radiate positivity and bring out our best", he says.

As we think through the challenges of the last several weeks and consider what the weeks ahead may hold, it’s tempting to sit on the sidelines and tell yourself just get through it. But friends, this is not what I’ve seen any of you do. Instead, I’ve seen how each of you has shown concern for others and how each of you has worked to somehow contribute to the well-being of everybody around you.

Today, I want to share with you a few stories from BBVA. These are stories of kindness, of overcoming difficulties, and of courage. The common thread among them is that they radiate positivity and bring out our best.

Many of you have heard about, or even saw, the video of the plane that landed last Tuesday in Zaragoza, Spain, with the second batch of medical equipment acquired by BBVA. 13 ventilators vital for hospital intensive care units and 740 ventilators for support before and after ICU, arrived on that plane, but not without difficulty. It was only thanks to the teamwork of many colleagues who literally spent many sleepless nights to get it done. Global Head of Engineering Ricardo had the vision for BBVA to help society with what it most needed, which is vital medical equipment and supplies. It was Jennifer from our Hong Kong office that had the initiative and creativity to find a solution. A solution so far away but at the same time, so close. So far away because the medical equipment was in Nanjing, China, 10,000 kilometers, or 6,000 miles, from its final destination. So close because the startup which distributed the ventilators (Vedeng) is funded by BBVA’s partner Sinovation Ventures. You might think that would make it easy, but you would be wrong. Mountains of paperwork, permits and then finding the right transportation were hurdles to still be crossed. Adolfo and the purchase team worked miracles – like María talking to embassies and government authorities, and Peio with our regional managers in talks with the local authorities so the material arrived at the hospitals that needed it most. There are other flights arriving in countries where BBVA operates carrying special cargo that will save lives, as part of the 35 million euros that BBVA has pledged globally to fight this global scourge.

There’s also Carlos, our teammate in Internal Audit, who provides us a story of imagination and determination, as he worked to transform a concert venue in his hometown, Aranda de Duero, into a field hospital for 200 patients.

When it comes to stories of kindness, look no further than María José, director of a branch in Cordoba, who, in a telephone conversation, refused to let an elderly customer be or feel alone. The customer told us that nobody took care of him like she did. I always say we are people serving people, and those of you in our branches, our remote relationship managers, our call center agents and many others, are the epitome of that. We should all strive to emulate the service you provide customers that consistently goes above and beyond, especially in this challenging situation.

Let me also tell you about Araceli, Inmaculada, Concha, Estrella, Mª Ángeles, Mónica, Conchi, Isabel and Enrique, our medical team in Ciudad BBVA. This brave team, like the rest of BBVA’s medical teams in all of our countries, has repeatedly pushed their personal safety aside to take care of us, while also keeping a close watch on those that are sick, proving once and for all that some heroes truly don’t wear capes.

I can’t end without acknowledging how, starting in Colombia and extending to many other countries, there are thousands of you that have given so generously to employee funds in your countries. You are saving lives, and your generosity is not unnoticed. I also would like to thank the 300+ members of BBVA Top Management in every single country for renouncing their 2020 variable compensation in these difficult times.

These are just a few of the many stories that reveal how this crisis is bringing out the good – and our values – in all of us. Along with the stories, the caring and the selflessness that I have observed in every single employee of BBVA during these unprecedented times has made me feel proud. I want to thank each and every one of you for making BBVA more than a place I come to work each day, but instead an extension of my family.

This brings me to a final thought. I can only imagine the myriad difficulties each of you encounter on a daily basis. It’s a lot. I know it is. But, I encourage you to guard against becoming overwhelmed. Resist negativity and embrace positivity. Always remember that you are surrounded by people like you, who care for you, for others and for the society: Stay positive, stand strong and keep safe.