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Digital banking 10 Nov 2016

Ricardo Forcano: “The cultural and organizational change is the biggest challenge of the digital transformation”

BBVA Global Head of Talent and Culture Ricardo Forcano visited the IESE Barcelona campus to share with the MBA candidates his impressions regarding the very special moment that the banking industry is currently undergoing.

Invited by Franz Heukamp, dean of the University of Navarra’s Business School, Ricardo Forcano stressed a critical issue in today’s world: “Good leadership has always been important in all organizations, but during a time of transformation like the one we are living now, it is a matter of survival.” BBVA’s new head of Human Resources referred to the current scenario as the “perfect storm,” and indicated three reasons that have driven the banking industry to this point: negative interest rates in Europe and near zero in the United States, an increasing regulatory pressure which has lead to higher costs among financial institutions, and, finally, a transformation process, with increasingly demanding customers, new competitors and an urge to develop new abilities.

BBVA started its transformation almost a decade ago, with an initial phase focused on updating its technological platforms. Now, the Bank is looking to give a swift response to the customers’ new demands: “We used to engage customers through the branch and call centers. But today internet and, more than ever, the mobile are allowing us to have a much closer and frequent relationship with our clients,” said Forcano. So much so, that this very week BBVA became the first Spanish bank to roll out an online onboarding via mobile feature, using biometrics and a video call.

BBVA owes much of the success of its transformation, according to Ricardo Forcano, to its ability to successfully transition from “a highly hierarchical organization, based on organizational charts and reporting,” to a “less vertical and more liquid one,” where “multidisciplinary teams with clear responsibilities are now more important than organizational structures and hierarchies.” This change is proving more pivotal than the institution’s own technological transformation.

BBVA’s Global Head of Talent and Culture was unequivocally clear when he explained one of the crucial aspects of this transformation: “We want to instill our Purpose into everything we do. If we managed to do so, we would benefit from an incredible competitive advantage, because, what could be more effective than having all employees committed to a single Purpose?

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