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Finances

Finances

The finalization of Basel III, post-COVID regulation, artificial intelligence and the crypto world, or international coordination in the supervision of sustainable finance are some of the trends that will mark the regulatory agenda in 2022. Santiago Fernández de Lis, Head of Regulation at BBVA, reviews the keys to financial regulation in the year that has just begun.

The BBVA Group is debuting fully digital retail banking in Italy, with a unique value proposition and customer experience. BBVA is entering the Italian market with free digital banking; one of the most secure cards in the world - as there are no printed numbers on the card, and a dynamic CVV - unmatched in Italy; and financing products at competitive prices.

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Following the European Central Bank (ECB) decision to lift its recommendation limiting shareholders’ distributions, BBVA’s Board of Directors has resolved the payment of a cash interim dividend of €0.08 (gross) per share on account of the 2021 dividend, to be paid on 12 October 2021. The net dividend per share would stand at €0.0648. The bank will make this payment to its shareholders on October 12, 2021.

Dividends are the best-known and most widespread formula used by companies to distribute a part of the profits among their shareholders. However, there are other ways. With respect to BBVA, on April 8, the bank will pay a cash dividend of 23 euro cents gross per share. This payment is in addition to the 8 cents it paid in October 2021. This makes for a total of 31 cents for the 2021 financial year, the highest cash dividend per share in the last 10 years.

To measure and understand a banking entity's credit quality, several metrics must be considered as an interrelated whole. One indicator in isolation cannot give a full picture of credit risk. The three most widely used metrics are the NPL ratio, the coverage ratio and the cost of risk. These metrics enable us to analyze the volume of non-performing assets in relation to the size of an entity's loan portfolio, the provisions recognized to cover future default losses and the annual cost of generating this buffer of provisions.

Digital identity enables people, businesses and governments to interact in the digital world. It also facilitates remote transactions - e-commerce, payments or taxes - and access to sensitive services, such as healthcare, accelerated by the pandemic. Therefore, citizens and businesses should be able to use a digital ID, valid within and between countries. Banks, with extensive experience in creating digital identification processes for their customers in a highly regulated environment, could be key players in future internationally accepted and reliable digital identification systems.

BBVA has been involved in the creation of Pinakes, the Interbank Cooperation Center (ICC) platform that simplifies the provider evaluation process in areas relating to cybersecurity. The aim of this platform is to offer the 124 financial institutions associated with the ICC and the more than 400 providers that provide products and services to the financial sector a new efficient mechanism for ensuring their reliability and ensuring compliance with the demanding banking sector regulations when it comes to managing technological risks.

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EduFin Summit, the annual benchmark event on financial education organized by BBVA's Center for Financial Education and Capability, is back after a year of absence due to the pandemic. This year's online edition will begin on May 12 for five days during a three-week-period. Edufin Summit 2021 will address the state of financial education in the post-COVID era and the value of financial knowledge for contributing to inclusive growth, among other topics.

Just as every year since 2012, BBVA has voluntarily released its Global Tax Contribution report. In 2020, the Group carried out an additional exercise of transparency including, for the first time ever, non-financial public information in standard GRI 207. This standard allows entities to disclose comparable information regarding their fiscal strategy, governance model and tax risk management, as well as their contribution on a per country basis. Overall, BBVA Group’s worldwide tax contribution in 2020 amounted to €8.33 billion.

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.

Among the novelties in BBVA´s 2020 results presentation is its objective of repurchasing 10 percent of the shares once the sale of the subsidiary in the United States is completed with the capital generated by this operation. At the press conference, Carlos Torres Vila, BBVA Group´s Executive Chairman, stated that "we are saying loud and clear that we consider BBVA´s share the best investment we can make." In addition, he reviewed different strategic options that the bank was considering for investing that capital.

How do you know if a banking product is sustainable and contributes to the protection of the environment? In 2020, 26 banks including BBVA, tested how the European Union's taxonomy on sustainable activities could be applied to core banking products. Common criteria for determining which products are sustainable could allow banks to drive sustainable financing for the entire economy.

After two years of pandemic-related restrictions, the Davos Forum, hosted by the WEF (World Economic Forum) and to be held from May 22 to 26, 2022, has returned to an in-person meeting format. This edition is one of the most critical so far, due to the vast changes the world has seen since the event was last held and the severe tests that society now faces. With the pandemic in the background and the invasion of Ukraine in the foreground, the summit comes at a crucial geopolitical and economic moment, when the world faces urgent challenges in humanitarian emergencies, energy and security, while not losing sight of the long-term commitments to transform, feed and decarbonize the planet.

In recent weeks, BBVA has been recognized for its efforts in fiscal transparency at events, on rankings, and in reports from different fields: the consulting firm PwC, the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and the NGO Intermon Oxfam. These recognitions are the result of the bank’s commitment to customers, shareholders and employees, which are reflected every year in the publication of its global fiscal contribution report. 

Onur Genç participated in ‘The Global Boardroom: Shaping the recovery’ forum organized by the Financial Times, where he shared his vision of the pandemic's effect on the banking sector. The BBVA CEO pointed out that this crisis has accelerated certain dynamics, such as the digitization of banks' business models, although this trend "was already in place." For example, he explained that customer interactions in the bank's app have multiplied by fivefold in the last year.

In an interview with ‘La Linterna’ de COPE, BBVA’s Group Executive Chairman said that the EU funds to face the health crisis represent “a great opportunity”. In his opinion, if invested “productively in long-term growth and combined in combination with structural reforms”, they can help tackle key problems of the Spanish economy, such as structural unemployment. "We also need to invest in education, focusing on the world of the future: the digital world, the world of data and addressing the transition to a more sustainable world, socially and environmentally."

On May 25, 2020, the General Data Protection Regulation celebrated its second year of entry into application. As envisaged in the standard itself, the European Commission performed an assessment on its application and functioning over this period of time, taking into account the feedback provided by associations, companies, consumers and EU institutions. The commission has finally released the corresponding findings, which concludes that, on top of having a very positive impact, the COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated that the Regulation is prepared for the new digital age

Much is said about financial inclusion's impact in people’s sustainable development: access to financial services is the gateway to an improved well-being and a necessary condition to guarantee equal opportunities, in addition to promoting growth. Institutions like the BBVA Microfinance Foundation facilitate this inclusion, something which, beyond its tangible value, empowers people to gradually enhance their financial management skills and, overtime, gain access to products and services from the formal banking system.

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.

Neither Google, Samsung, nor Amazon are banks. Yet they all provide financial services, specifically in the areas of payments and money transfers. Even Facebook is making plans for its own currency, Libra. Financial regulation needs to respond to the challenges of a changing landscape: fintech startups are paving the way for digital ecosystems while the Big Tech are taking steps to penetrate what has traditionally been banking territory.

During the coronavirus crisis, digital functionality has been critical for keeping the financial system up-and-running and facilitating quality customer care under extraordinary circumstances, even while the pandemic dictated minimal physical contact. This represents a sign of success for the sector’s digitization efforts and should also serve to make further regulatory progress.  So concluded a virtual meeting dedicated to Europe's future digital finance strategy, ‘Digital Finance Outreach,’ organized by the European Commission in collaboration with Spain’s Treasury Department.

BBVA’s CEO sat down with Turkish news agency Anadolu to discuss the current scenario facing Turkey’s economy and banking system. Onur Genç expressed his optimism regarding Turkey's progress at the economic level and considers that banks are in good shape to face this crisis. Digitization, in his opinion, will be key for banks in the current scenario. In this sense, he cited Garanti BBVA as an example of a digital leader, with almost nine million digital customers, eight million of whom are mobile.