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Opinion 22 October 2020

We think big

In the internal blog ‘The Pulse’, BBVA CEO Onur Genç talks about the meaning of "Thinking big", one of BBVA's values. This value is key as it reminds us that "we can do more so that we can further impact people’s lives and enhance their opportunities", he says.

A few weeks ago, we celebrated our Values Day. It was a huge success with an active participation of 90,000 employees, our highest ever. Throughout the day in the Values workshops, we have asked this question to you: “Which value do you think we should reinforce more?”

The responses indicate that the values of ‘Customer comes first’ and ‘We are one team’ are the fundamentals of business success and something we should be using in our day-to-day lives. We can clearly do much better in those values as well, but the predominant feedback was that they are clearly in our mind. ‘We think big’, on the other hand, is somehow like the middle child who needs to have more of our attention. The behaviors under ‘We think big’ – we are ambitious, we break the mold and we amaze our customers – need to be embraced at a deeper level.

As I reflect on ‘We think big’, I cannot help myself but remember some outstanding numbers that would not have emerged if we were not thinking big. As some of you know, I’m a numbers person, and certain numbers stick to my mind:

100,000,000,000 ● 1,087,642,290 ● 815,000,000  ● 15,000,000 ● 7,000,000 ● 6,207,428 ● 2,150,000 …

  • €100 billion is the ambitious goal we will mobilize in sustainable finance by 2025, transitioning to a low carbon economy, promoting financial inclusion and entrepreneurship, and financing sustainable infrastructure.
  • 1,087,642,290 is the number of views that ‘Aprendemos juntos’, BBVA’s educational project to deliver our brand promise ‘Creating Opportunities,’ reached last month, adding its name to the elite ‘One Billion Views Club’.
  • €815 million is the cross-border revenues we generate annually from our CIB+Commercial clients, i.e. the revenue that we generate from the foreign subsidiaries of our core clients, a clear advantage for a global bank like us.
  • 15 million is the number of customers already migrated to our global mobile banking app platform -’GloMo’-, a global industry-leading solution for our clients. Through ‘GloMo’, a feature we develop in one country can be easily deployed in another.
  • 7 million people’s lives have been positively impacted by the laudable work of the Microfinance Foundation, whose primary goal is the sustainable development for vulnerable entrepreneurs.
  • 6,207,428 is the number of digital sales units we have done in September 2020. We have increased this figure 2.6 times in the past 3 years.
  • 2,150,000 daily customer calls were answered at the peak of the pandemic demonstrating both our technological strength and flexibility.

So, while we have plenty of success stories that demonstrate how we think big, the feedback from the Values workshops is very clear. We can do more so that we can further impact people’s lives and enhance their opportunities. To achieve this, the recipe is two-fold:

  • First, embed big thinking into our day-to-day. All of us should do this, not just our innovation colleagues, not just the developers and designers who are working on the next cool product or functionality. Each one of us and at any point in our day-to-day life, if we can ask the question of “How can I add more value?; Is there any other way that I can do my job more efficiently and effectively?”, then new and better ways of working will emerge. Every single innovation of each one of us will then lead into a big wave of thinking big. As commonly said in management, excellence is found in “the next five minutes”. We achieve ambitious goals step by step. We need to think big every minute, in every task.
  • And second, enthusiasm is the key to thinking big. You should always be open to learning and trying new things. Be open-minded, positive, creative and let go of our self-imposed limitations. We would enjoy our work life much more if we push ourselves into this enthusiasm zone.

This enthusiasm led Spain, Mexico and Turkey to launch just last week a pioneering new payment solution, empowering the customer with full control through the mobile app. This solution includes reinforced security features like cards without a printed number on the physical card, not even an expiration date or CVC code.

I encourage all of you to join Live@BBVA on Thursday to hear our colleagues present this innovative payment solution and other projects and tangible examples that perfectly illustrate how ‘We think big’. You will be impressed with all that we have accomplished despite the adverse circumstances we’ve gone through this year, and you will be proud. I know I am.

Finally, I never want to miss an opportunity to send a special message of support to those of you affected by the pandemic as we see second waves hitting hard in some countries. We haven’t lost sight of our No.1 priority: to protect the health and safety of all of BBVA employees, clients and society in general.