BBVA to invest $1.2 billion to become South America's leading digital bank

BBVA to invest $1.2 billion to become South America's leading digital bank

Spain's BBVA is to invest $1.2 billion on technology projects in South America over the next two years as it looks to grow the number of customers using digital and mobile channels to access the bank.

BBVA claims almost 16 million clients, 1600 branches and about 30,000 employees across seven South American countries. Over the past year, the bank has increased the number of online customers in the region by 30% to reach three million and tripled the number of clients using mobile platforms, totaling over one million.

BBVA's president and chief operating officer, Ángel Cano, says the bank has already invested $800 million in South America as part of the $2.5 billion investment plan for the region announced last year. Forty percent of the investment will go to technological projects with the remaining 60% allocated to projects focused on growth in infrastructures and distribution networks.

Cano says that in South America there is still a lot of scope for the traditional business to attract new clients from the region's vast unbanked sector.

"For this reason, we keep opening new branches and installing ATMs at the same time as we develop new mobile solutions", he says.

But it is not just about opening new channels, but also about redesigning banks products to fit the digital agenda: "This is about developing products from a digital perspective, conceived in different ways, just as a digital native would image them: less data, more interaction and with solutions for social media."

As examples, he points to the development of SMS Banking in Peru for clients with basic phones, and BBVA Link in Chile, the first Facebook bank account in Latin America.

He says that nowadays more than 90% of financial translations are completed outside the branches thanks to service digitisation and the new branch model.

The segment of digital clients has actually shown the biggest growth and BBVA has consequently revised its objectives up as it pours more investment into technology. "We will reach six million digital clients in the region in 2016," forecasts Cano.

Comments: (4)

Mayank Sharma
Mayank Sharma - Tech Mahindra - Australia 14 September, 2014, 08:57Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Its great to see BBVA's vision and seamless execution of the same. I really like their clarity of objectives and reasoning behind them. Re-designing bank products to fit the digital agenda is as important as adopting new innovations. No doubt they are one of the best innovative banks these days. 

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 15 September, 2014, 10:18Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

It's interesting to see the span of services offered as well, ranging from staight forward sms banking to apps on smart phones. With the rapid growth in the number of smart phones it makes good business sense to launch services that can bes used both on simple feature phones and smart phones.

Hitesh Thakkar
Hitesh Thakkar - SME - Fintech startups (APAC and Africa) - India 15 September, 2014, 13:13Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Kudos to BBVA for innovative digital bank initiatives. several events such as sponsor fintech startup events, acquiring 'Simple' at early stage and using Simple's mobile banking platform across other region such as South American countries and more to expect.

I remember BBVA back in 2010-11, when it started developing Singl Slot ATM Machines called ABIL which is bank's own IPR shows committment of top management to innovate using technology.

90% transactions in old bank such as BBVA getting completed on Digital banking technology reflects lot of learning pages for the bankers from all regions.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 16 September, 2014, 08:36Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Does anyone know if BBVA are going to open a digital presence and possibly a small branch network in Australia in future? Thank you.