Digital change may be all the rage these days, but BBVA “has been working on it for years.” Transforming a bank “is not just a matter of platforms. The big challenge is changing an incumbent into a new digital company.” So said BBVA Group Executive Chairman Francisco González at MoneyConf 2017, which took place in Madrid this week.

The Spanish FI started its transformation journey in 2007, and this has allowed it to anticipate changes that are now affecting the banking industry as a whole. “Now everybody talks about digital change, everybody is in a hurry to jump onto the bandwagon. The best asset we have is time, and time means that a lot of work has been done in terms of processes, corporate culture, management structure, customer innovation, etc,” he said.

González also noted that BBVA’s team has been essential in this decade-long transformation project. “We started this long digital journey with bankers, and over time we had to bring in the digital talent and now we have a new “hybrid “class of professionals in the house, which is a blend of the best of banking with the digital world.”

He went on to say that “we realised we alone were not able to go on in our digital journey, so we dedicated a lot of time and management efforts to understand the digital world and FinTech in particular.” BBVA engages through different channels with the FinTech ecosystem, including the Open Talent startup competition, Propel (VC fund for startups), as well as strategic investments in/or acquisition of the likes of Simple and Madiva, and the creation of startups within the bank. More recently, it also launched its API Market.

A new league of competitors is emerging; this will consist of those few banks that become digital houses, in addition to technology giants and a smattering of startups. Many banks will disappear “because they will no longer have the time or the money to become digital players” and we will be in a world with narrower margins of profitability.


by Scott Thompson
Scott is Senior Editor at IBS Intelligence. You can follow him on Twitter and contact him at: