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Banking 28 Nov 2018

“What has taken place in Spain over the last 40 years has been amazing”

BBVA’s Group Executive Chairman took part in a seminar organized by Spanish newspaper ABC on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Spanish Constitution. In this four decades “Spain has become a consolidated democracy and from an economic standpoint, it has made great strides,” said Francisco González. “What has taken place in Spain over the last 40 years has been amazing”

Tracing the recent history of Spain, Francisco González recalled the positive impact that Spain’s transition to democracy has had on the economy. After the world economic crisis of 1973, the first big step was the Moncloa Pacts of 1977, followed by the Constitution of 1978.

Francisco González noted that “from 1978 and, clearly, 1986, when Spain became a member of the European Union, a series of changes started taking place, not only political and social, but also economic.”

In this sense, he emphasized that the Constitution was not an isolated event in Spain’s process of opening up to the outside world. There were other key milestones, especially the accession to the EU, he noted. In his opinion, joining the European project “has been instrumental in enabling Spain to come as far as it has.”

Joining the European project has been instrumental in enabling Spain to come as far as it has

The EU allowed the country to benefit from becoming a player in a democratic free market environment, he noted. Today, “Spain cannot be conceived without Europe, in the same way as Europe cannot be conceived without Spain.” For this reason, Francisco González considers that contributing to the resolution of the flaws of the European project is the best way to help ourselves. And tackling Spain’s problems realistically is the way to contribute to Europe.

“It was a great transition. Now we need to think hard about what we want from the future,” he said.

Francisco González - presidente de BBVA

BBVA’s Group Executive Chairman, Francisco González.

A profound change to adapt to the new environment

Asked about what Spanish companies and banks need to do to improve their competitive position in foreign markets, he explained that we are undergoing the biggest technological revolution in history. “A new economic and social order is taking shape, and our current legal architecture does not conform to this order.” Currently, “innovation is spectacular,” but we need to ensure that the wealth that is being created needs to “trickle down to everyone” and this is where regulators and policy come in.

In this new environment, businesses and banks need to embark on a profound transformation journey, the same one that BBVA is already undertaking: processes, products, systems and challenges, but especially a “change in corporate culture”: new, agile ways of working, new professional profiles and new teams.

At BBVA, we’ve been working on our digital transformation for over 10 years, and we’ve become global leaders in this field

“At BBVA, we’ve been working on our digital transformation for over 10 years, and we’ve become global leaders in this field”, said Francisco González. The bank will compete against new entrants – such as Google and fintechs – in a financial sector that will not be able to accommodate the 20,000 institutions that comprise it today.

Francisco González shared some key figures of this transformation, including that 50 percent of BBVA’s customers already do their banking through digital challenges, or that sales through digital challenges account for almost 50 percent of total sales.

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