The many manifestations of COVID-19 have made us susceptible to associating any of its wide-ranging symptoms to the virus and we forget that other conditions still exist and need to be tended to. More worrisome is the fact that globally, public health measures to control the pandemic, including mobility restrictions and prioritization of COVID-19 treatment, coupled with the economic crisis that is producing an increase in poverty, has made it even more challenging for low-income patients to access treatment in a timely manner. In Latin America, according to Pfizer, the number of medical consultations and oncological visits nearly halved. Moreover, in the region, having medical coverage and access to basic health care is limited to very few people.
For yet another year, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has published the data reported by nearly 40 of the largest foundations in member countries of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC), to showcase the impact of private philanthropy. For second year running, the BBVA Microfinance Foundation (BBVAMF) ranks as the leading contributor to development in Latin America, and the world’s second, next to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
45 minutes by motorcycle, half an hour by boat and 15 minutes on foot. That is how Sergio Pacheco and Victor Madera, loan officers of the BBVA Microfinance Foundation in Colombia, manage to bring financial services where no one else does. This journey is just one example among the numerous cases that can be found in the countries where the Foundation works. These are the lengths to which they go to reach those who live outside the financial system, which is another barrier to their progress. In 2020, BBVAMF has banked nearly 300,000 people in Colombia and Peru, and its two institutions combined have reached more than 2.1 million clients.
Carlos Torres Vila participated in an event sponsored by the BBVA Microfinance Foundation, entitled ‘Unstoppable women: Challenges to and achievements of reinvention in times of crisis’. The event, chaired by Queen Letizia of Spain, shone the spotlight on the work of Latin American women entrepreneurs and technology’s key role in propping up their resilience against the economic impact of the pandemic. Development experts from organizations such as SEGIB (Ibero-American General Secretariat), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), UN Women and representatives of technology companies such as Google also took part in the event.
The 9th of August is the day the United Nations honors the indigenous people for their efforts in protecting biodiversity and a millenium-old culture. They comprise 6% of the world’s population but their territory houses 80% of the planet’s biodiversity. Indigenous communities possess valuable knowledge on how to preserve the environment and care for natural resources. However, they face challenges that put their survival at risk, such as the lack of basic services like health -especially during the COVID-19 pandemic- or access to finance. Among other obstacles that hinder their progress is the lack of infrastructure, but the language barrier is also significant.
To know that they help improve people’s lives is what encourages Roberta, Fernanda, Omar, Yuriem and Teresa to face the day. As part of more than 4,000 microfinance officers of the BBVA Microfinance Foundation (BBVAMF) in five Latin American countries, they reach places where others don’t go, to make financial services more accessible to low-income entrepreneurs who need only an opportunity to develop their livelihoods.
2020 is a crucial year for women and girls, everywhere. We celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. It also marks the five-year milestone of the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals. This year’s 64th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) was deemed to be the big commemoration and opportunity to reaffirm these mandates. There are still significant and pervasive gender gaps in the economic and political participation of women all over the world. Progress is sluggish and if we are serious about achieving the 2030 Agenda we must step up the pace.
The Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has presented its report on private development financing. The study assessed more than 30 of the largest foundations in the OECD member countries and reveals that the BBVA Microfinance Foundation disbursed $1.2 billion in 2018. This represents 83 percent of the total of this kind of financing in Latin America, BBVAMF’s sole operating region. BBVAMF thus places first in the region and second globally, after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
They are both refugees. Einstein, considered one of the greatest geniuses in history, fled Nazi occupied Germany to the United States in 1933 after his civil liberties were revoked and he was barred from his professorship for being an outspoken opponent of the government. Fortunately, Princeton University recognized his intelligence and offered him a job. A fortuitous event that changed his life and ours, yet for many refugees today, such opportunities are scarce.
A finales del siglo XIX y durante el primer tercio del siglo XX, Sudamérica se convirtió en una prominente región de destino de la migración, principalmente de Europa, China y Japón. La depresión económica que vivía Occidente, las guerras europeas, y las reminiscencia de las antiguas metrópolis hicieron de los países sudamericanos el destino elegido por millones de personas que buscaban un futuro más próspero.
The award underscores the role that the Group is playing, spearheading the digital transformation process of the region’s financial sector by rolling out, on an ongoing basis, innovative products and services that seek to bring the age of opportunity to everyone. The publication also recognized BBVA as the best digital bank in Spain in the Corporate/Institutional category.
It isn’t easy to live in Soacha. Despite being close to Bogota, basic services like running water are not available on a daily basis and the streets of this town, one of the most impoverished in Colombia, are known for their insecurity and lack of infrastructure. But everything is possible with an opportunity and enthusiasm and Jessica Hernandez is the perfect example of this. BBVA’s Group executive chairman wanted to meet the entrepreneur whose story was heard around the world following her speech at the United Nations during a BBVA Microfinance Foundation event.
There are unsung heroes who travel miles, undaunted by distance or the obstacles they face on the road to reach their entrepreneurs: entrepreneurs who, whether standing behind a shop counter, sitting behind a sewing machine, or surrounded by their crops, make decisions everyday that impact their lives and the lives of their relatives and neighbors. If these entrepreneurs – more than two million today – are the heart of the BBVA Microfinance Foundation, then the more than 4,000 loan officers who accompany them on the road toward prosperity are its soul. There are many types of heroes in the world. Some, like these, were not born heroes. The were made into heroes.
BBVA is developing an open innovation program in the region, known as fast track, which makes it possible to streamline and make more efficient the processes that the Group develops together with startups to implement new digital products and services for the benefit of customers.
BBVA’s Group Executive Chairman met with the Board of Trustees of the BBVA Microfinance Foundation (BBVAMF) following the appointment of Anna Escobedo Cabral, expert in development and a leading voice in the defense of the most disadvantaged regions, as the Board’s new Chair. Francisco González praised Claudio González Vega’s work, who will step down as chair of the institution but will continue to contribute his broad experience in microfinance as member of the Board.
Pastry chef Jordi Roca introduced his new book ‘Casa Cacao’ (‘Cocoa House’), a cookbook full of creations where chocolate plays the leading role. Co-authored with food journalist Ignacio Medina, this cookbook is also an encyclopedic dedication to cocoa and follows both men on their journey through various parts of Latin America in search of the best chocolate in the world. The launch of the book in Madrid included participation from Oscar Moya, BBVA’s Director of Global Sponsorships and Corporate Content, and Lydia Diaz, Director of Planeta Gastro, a Spanish publishing house specializing in gastronomy. This book is a prelude to a gastronomic venue that Jordi Roca will open next year in Girona, in northeastern Spain. BBVA will produce a documentary to accompany the kick-off of the new venue.
Not long ago, in Colombia, nearly half the population lived in poverty. In rural areas, the overwhelming majority. Ten years ago, the BBVA Microfinance Foundation made a commitment to change this reality by creating the country’s first microfinance bank, Bancamía, in collaboration with two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) – ‘Corporación Mundial de la Mujer Colombia’ and ‘Corporación Mundial de la Mujer Medellín’.
For Sandra Mendoza, the Colombian entrepreneur served by the BBVA Microfinance Foundation, there is no question: “Sexism is the biggest barrier to overcome in rural areas.” This is also how she describes what it’s like to be a woman living in the countryside. At an event held in honor of the International Day of Rural Women, both she and Manuela Gómez, a Spanish entrepreneur from the Federation of Rural Women Associations (FADEMUR), spoke of a reality they know firsthand, despite the 5,000 miles that separate them.
The best way to close a distance is to eliminate it. This is what is required if distance is what prevents one in every four financially excluded people from opening a bank account. The World Bank indicates that technology may play a key role in making financial inclusion a viable reality for everyone, which is why digital transformation is part of BBVA Microfinance Foundation’s DNA. The Foundation aims to reach more people, regardless of how far away they live, and to provide assistance as efficiently and quickly as possible.
Marcos, Marcela, Lucy, Juan, Adelaida, and Luz are not six names just pulled from a hat. They are six Latin American entrepreneurs who are getting ahead using small loans, savings, and microinsurance that protects what they are building. They are six of the 2 million people served by the BBVA Microfinance Foundation (BBVAMF).
BBVA CEO Carlos Torres Vila got a first-hand glimpse into the level of progress that the BBVA Microfinance Foundation’s digital strategy is enabling. Bancamía, the Foundation’s lending arm in the country, is managing to reach more and more customers who, until recently, had struggled to access financing as a result of the digital divide. BBVA’s CEO learned about two of the entrepreneurs backed by the institution and how microcredits have afforded them new opportunities to pursue a brighter future.
BBVA has celebrated its first ‘Values Day.’ A day to embrace and live the values of the Group: Customer comes first; We think big; We are one team. BBVA Executive chairman Francisco González and CEO Carlos Torres Vila reaffirmed these values as “the heart of a long process of transformation that the bank is spearheading at a global level.”
Travelling is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Visiting new cities, learning about new cultures and other languages is a dream for many. But travelling across the globe is not as easy as it seems. Fortunately, paintings have the power of taking us to other places and eras. BBVA Collection has set out to bring all corners of the world together, so that we can have them at hand’s reach.
According to BBVA Research’s Latin America Economic Outlook report for the second quarter of 2018, the region’s positive trends of recent years are set to continue, with GDP growth forecasted at 1.4% for 2018 and 2.5% for 2019. However, BBVA’s study service has downgraded its 2018 growth forecast for the region by three tenths.
The global head of Customer Solutions (CS) closed BBVA Colombia’s quarterly planning meeting in an ‘All Hands’ session with 300 participants representing all areas of the bank. The message is clear: the transformation is accelerating.
Economic activity in Latin America has been invigorated in recent months, in line with the recovery of confidence among families and businesses and a more favorable external context. In its Latin America Economic Outlook for first quarter 2018, BBVA Research forecasts that the region’s growth will increase from 1.1% in 2017 to 1.7% in 2018 and 2.5% in 2019.
The transformation of the economy opens the door to collaboration between big corporations and startups: they need to understand each other and collaborate. It’s a beneficial relationship for all, but one which is not always easy.
BBVA continued leading the way to innovation in Latin America during 2017, becoming the region’s digital bank par excellence. That distinction was confirmed by Global Finance magazine, which judged BBVA’s mobile banking app to be the best in Latin America. BBVA’s local franchises in the region have set the pace in the development of products and services which, just as in the case of mobile banking, aim to make their customers’ lives easier and deliver on the Group’s intent to bring the age of opportunity to everyone.
Argentina, Peru, Colombia and Chile are examples of BBVA’s commitment to digitization and to offering the most advanced services for customers in the all markets where the bank operates. Chatbots, online investment funds and corporate leasing functions are all evidence of the bank’s progress in Latin America.
Open Talent has evolved from a unified competition for technological companies to one divided into categories that supports all kinds of entrepreneurs in innovation from many countries. It has developed every year since 2009 to help more new entrepreneurs.
The Pacific Alliance, made up of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, is a regional economic and comercial powerhouse. This area grows more than the average in Latin America. BBVA Research expects GDP growth of 1.6% and 2.3% in 2017 and 2018, respectively. “The Pacific Alliance is a success story in integration. And not by chance. It shares an ambition and a set of values behind this policy, on how prosperity should be reached,” said Jose Manuel González-Páramo, executive director of BBVA in Santander.
Argentina and Brazil are finally pulling out of recession and driving the economic growth in Latin America as a whole this year, despite the slowdown in other countries in the region. According to BBVA Resarch’s ‘Latin America Economic Outlook’ Q3 report, the region will grow 0.8% in 2017 and 1.7% in 2018.
A total of 87 entrepreneurs from five countries have been selected to participate in BBVA Momentum 2017, the most global edition of BBVA’s program of social entrepreneurship. The selection was made from among a total of more than 700 candidates from Spain, Mexico, the United States, Colombia and Turkey.
The economic slowdown in Latin America will come to an end this year, with a 1.1% growth rate in the region. Forecasts by BBVA Research estimate that in 2018, the region´s economy will continue to recover, with GDP expanding at the rate of 1.8%. This is still well below its potential, which is estimated at close to 3%.
The Internet of Things is today a reality. Apart from the benefits it can provide to companies, the IoT will become a powerful tool in the fight for citizen security, given its many possible uses.
Five global teams from BBVA Customer Solutions and five local teams from BBVA in South America. A total of 10 teams met in Dallas (Texas) with a common goal in mind: connecting around shared projects to ensure that BBVA capitalizes on global capacities to create amazing customer experiences. That was BBVA South America’s Global Week in Dallas.
BBVA today announces the launch of the ninth edition of its Open Talent fintech competition – which this year has grown significantly to offer even more people the chance to work with a world-leading digital business.
BBVA launches the sixth edition of its social entrepreneurship support program, which from now on will be global – it will be developed in Spain, the United States, Mexico, Turkey and Colombia –, will offer support to more companies and will adjust better to the reality of social entrepreneurs. BBVA Momentum channels its support through five initiatives: a training program; a strategic mentoring program; a network of entrepreneurs, customers and investors; collaboration to provide visibility to the companies; and, finally, funding.
Thirty years ago, microfinance revolutionized the market with affordable loans for the disadvantaged. Until then, the most vulnerable population segments were left out on the fringes of the financial system, and had no way of accessing credit. Today, with 2 billion adults still unbanked, new technologies are emerging with the potential to reach more people at a lower cost. But this opportunity is having a challenging impact on the current microfinance model, which was built on the pillars of personal relations and trust.
South America’s GDP will recover in 2017 after four years of economic slowdown, while Mexico will bear the impact of the uncertainty surrounding US policies, which is likely to hinder its growth prospects. These are the key conclusions of BBVA Research’s Latin America Outlook Q1 2017 report.