Half of the world's banks set to fall by the digital wayside - BBVA

Half of the world's banks set to fall by the digital wayside - BBVA

Up to half of the world's banks will disappear through the cracks opened up by digital disruption of the industry, forecasts BBVA chairman and CEO Francisco Gonzalez.

Speaking to the press as the bank reported a 25% uplift in profits to EUR2.62 billion, Gonzalez said that competition from fintech startups and the entry into banking by any one of a number of big tech computer companies would have drastic consequences for banks which had failed to adjust to the digital revolution sweeping the industry.

BBVA has spent billions of euros on its digital transformation efforts. In December, the bank acquired Spanish big data and cloud computing startup Madiva Soluciones as part of its strategy to buy up companies that are developing new technologies and disruptive business models. This followed last year's acquisitions of US neo-bank Simple and the establishment of a digital banking unit charged with leading the bank on its next evolutionary steps into the digital world.

The effort has yet to reap any visible swing in revenues, but Gonzalez is banking on a collapse in costs as BBVA moves more customers to online and smartphone banking, noting a 104% growth rate in mobile banking customers over the past year.

He says banks are entering a new world, as tried and trusted marketing methods are replaced by more precise data and analytical insights on customer behaviour and trigger points for buying financial products.

He cites a recent one-on-one video-led sales effort appealing to customers to improve their pension plans which reaped a positive 80% response rate, compared with an industry average of 20%.

In online mortgage sales, a simple change in the colour of a Website calculator resulted in a 10% increase in sales. The bank currently sells 15% of its mortgages digitally, a figure which is forecast to grow to up to 40% within the next few years.

Gonzalez's faith in the bank's digital transformation effect is in contrast to that of his compatriot Ana Botin at Santander, who yesterday played up the importance of the branch network in keeping the digital barbarians at bay.

Comments: (5)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 04 February, 2015, 16:10Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

It will be increasingly difficult for banks to simply invest in doing the banking business digitally. In the new world it is necessary to control a range of competencies, just one of which is banking.

For instance the new private online bank WeBank in China from Tencent will leverage a huge number of assets and stakes they have in various groups across multiple industries - WeChat (like WhatsApp), QQ Instant Messaging, TenPay, a taxi booking service and even a food ordering service. This is the real challenge banks need to address.

João Bohner
João Bohner - Independent Consultant - Carapicuiba 04 February, 2015, 17:04Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

The question is not 'keeping the digital barbarians at bay', digital transformation or keeping the indians making smoke signals.
It's how bank's customers will feel comfortable in managing its assets with the bank. See below my comment in another post.
Do we really believe that a very fresh 'fintech startup' will 'magically' come up with a miraculous enterprise solution for old banks? (Citi: 200+ years; Santander; 150+ years; BBVA: 150+ years, among others...)

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"The more direct control that a customer has to understand its financial position, greater confidence it will have in the bank holding its assets."

So, it doesn't matter if it is mobile, ATM, Branch, videotext, beacons, smoke signs, etc.

Then, what matters is that the customer DOES control its financial position (not only current account) at any time, any place and by any means.

There won't be a 'branch network', there will be an omni network handling a single source of knowledge.

It's more than time to replace ('transform') the 50 year old architecture by a new one.

Just remembering: In today's market there is no 'best' coresystems, only 'least worst' ones, since all treat the banking business by line-of-business instead of corporately! (and they are very expensive...)

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João Bohner
João Bohner - Independent Consultant - Carapicuiba 04 February, 2015, 18:17Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

To leveling the understanding:

This difference should be taken in account.

There is a fundamental difference between the banking business and all other businesses: The bank business 'holds' the client assets.
Other businesses need to 'sell' their assets to customers.
This difference is crucial.
So, the differential focus is to ensure the maintenance of customer assets safely and reliably, while providing the customer complete control over the management of their assets.
The customer should have its tools (not bank tools) to handle/use its assets properly.
Only then the bank will offer the 'products' for the handling of customer assets, according to the banks interests!

James Piggot
James Piggot - Finastra - London 05 February, 2015, 10:44Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

More confirmation if any were needed of the challenges and disruptions that are facing the worlds banks, and also interesting following on from Ana Botin's comments regarding Santander's strategy regarding competition from the likes of Apple and Google.

No one can know what will happen in the future but the evidence of coming changes is stacking up and I wonder which one of BBVA or Santander will best weather the coming storm?

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 06 February, 2015, 15:142 likes 2 likes

The main challenge for the banks is to meet with new competition coming from ex-noncompetitors. The bureaucratic and heavily regulated nature of the industry (accompanied with common conventional mind set) - do not let the banks to be agile enough to compete. Different parts of the banking will be occupied by new competitors: like loans, payments, money transfers, P2p etc.. At the end of the day, there would be not much left for the conventional banks and my personal estimate is also minimum %50 market share lost for overall banking industry in coming 5 years.

If you would be interested in knowing more about Digital Disruption to banking, you may visit my presentation at: http://www.slideshare.net/TolgaTavlasPMP/digital-disruption-to-banking-2014-eva

New business models and efficient big data use required!