They come together as one, sometimes clamorous, other times contemplative. They move in tandem, continuously tuning. One peels off, goes her own way, then returns with a new sound, a new idea.

This has been every band’s process since the dawn of time. It also could describe BBVA Compass’ award-winning Mobile and Online Banking teams. Instead of the easy sports metaphors to explain their successes, they opt for a comparison that honors their collaborative spirit and also their individual strengths and creativity.

The improvisation imperative: How banking can be like jazz

“The reality is that the way we work and interact with each other is like being in a band,” said BBVA Compass Head of Mobile and Online Channels Alex Carriles. “More precisely, I would say it’s like being in a jazz ensemble. Each one of the players takes some liberties and can take the lead at one point and the rest will follow. Everyone is adapting to each other to maintain that harmony.”

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The teams bring together people from three very distinct disciplines — banking, design and technology — who are tasked with puzzling out some of the most vexing issues facing the industry. The issues, by and large, boil down to this: How can we do banking better? How can we be faster? How can we help customers be in better control of their financial lives.

The teams are hitting the right notes. BBVA Compass’ mobile banking app was given the 2016 Javelin Mobile Banking Leader award for Functionality for the third consecutive year and the top nod for best mobile banking app by Money® magazine in 2015. Its spin on the mobile check deposit feature has been called the best of the best. Euromoney named BBVA Compass the best digital bank in North America last year.

It's like being in a jazz ensemble. Each one of the players takes some liberties and can take the lead at one point and the rest will follow

Laurie Richardson, a functional design specialist for the BBVA Compass Online Banking team, said those successes wouldn’t have been possible if the teams stayed in their familiar silos.

We have to be able to adapt,” she said. “It takes every moving piece, or every instrument, to actually make it really good.”

Contact: Communications

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