Banks Should Lean on Digital Footprint as Much as Physical Presence to Effectively Serve More Clients, BBVA Exec Explains

Jose Luis Elechiguerra, Head of Client Solutions at BBVA US (NYSE:BBVA), which is originally a Spanish multinational financial services company based in Madrid and Bilbao, Spain with nearly €700 billion in assets, suggests that banks should “lean on a digital footprint as much as a physical one” in order to effectively serve more clients.

Elechiguerra revealed that during this year, the BBVA witnessed changes that have “shifted the very foundation of our society, many of which will reverberate into the next decade.”

He confirmed that the economic fallout due to COVID-19 has now been felt by SMEs and individuals across the globe. He claims that people across the U.S. are “hurting financially.”

He adds:

“It is up to banks to help [consumers] find their footing and not only reach financial health, but sustain it. That’s why it is so very fitting that BBVA unveiled its 5-year strategic plan at the advent of this historic timeline. Pillar No. 3 of this plan: Reaching more clients, is particularly relevant in light of recent events.”

The BBVA’s 10-year-long focus on its digital transformation strategy has helped establish the foundation for “industry-leading” capabilities that effectively meet client requirements, Elechiguerra claims. He believes that they position BBVA to properly execute its digital transformation strategy and “create opportunities” for existing and new clients, even if they “live outside [its] footprint.”

Elechiguerra further noted in a blog post that the Coronavirus crisis has “underscored the role of the financial system as part of the solution.” He added that, to that end, BBVA aims to keep using innovation as “a key driver to perpetuate a consistent growth pattern.”

He explained that the BBVA continues to create and deploy valuable innovations which are able to attract new clients. He also mentioned that adding new customers “generates enhanced profitability, which allows us to finance the development of new valuable innovations, leading to new customers, and so the cycle continues.”

The BBVA claims that it has been committed to helping small companies with the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Elechiguerra notes that the BBVA USA was among the first banking institutions to open up its online portal to applicants – in only 3 days – which allowed them to fund as much as $3.3 billion, handle over 22,000 applications and “impact approximately 360,000 jobs in less than 60 days.”

Elechiguerra claims:

“Even a bank as focused on small business as BBVA — we’ve been recognized as one of the leading small business lenders by the SBA and ranked 14th nationally in terms of dollar volume origination in 2019 — would typically need years to achieve these figures in ordinary times.”

He added:

“While branch expansion aligns with our strategic goal of helping our customers improve their financial health – and indeed we announced that we are opening 15 new branches in 2021 – lines between the physical and digital worlds start to blur as we deploy our remote management model. Through it, we can leverage our channels infrastructure – which includes the bank’s physical network, its digital channels and its contact centers – to create the most convenient journeys for our customers.”

As reported recently, BBVA’s US division was recognized as one of the best corporate digital banks in North America by Global Finance.

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