BBVA creates digital banking function

Anh Nguyen

BBVA, the second largest Spanish banking group after Santander, has created a separate function to focus on developing the company's digital banking services.

The division, 'Digital Banking', will be led by Carlos Torres Vila, who has an electrical engineering degree from MIT and was head of strategy and chief financial officer at Spanish utility firm Endesa. Digital Banking will report to Angel Cano, BBVA's chief operating officer.

All commercial offerings, the multi-channel strategy, distribution model and design of commercial and operational processes will all come under the remit of the new division. As a priority, it has been tasked with accelerating the group's digital transformation across all regions, and boosting the development of new digital businesses.

BBVA's chairman, Francisco Gonzalez, said: "The new structure will be an important factor in converting an efficient and profitable analogue bank into a digital knowledge-services business.

"After setting up the platforms, which are the foundations of our digital project, we can now accelerate the creation of new products and services for 21st century customers."

In terms of developing new digital business lines, Digital Banking will take charge of combining internal developments such as Wizzo - a web mobile app similar to Barclays' Pingit that allows customers to send money to each other by using just their Wizzo username, email or mobile phone number - with the bank's startup investments, such as the recently announced Simple online banking business.

BBVA said that Digital Banking will adopt a new development culture, with projects carried out by small autonomous teams of internal and external staff. "Customers are changing the way they relate to their banks and BBVA is anticipating this change," said Mr. Cano. "The new structure will allow us to respond better to today's customers and to those of tomorrow."

At the end of 2012, BBVA revealed that Accenture had helped it complete a $392 million project to replace the bank's core technology infrastructure for all of the bank's 716 branches in the US. Accenture provided its Alnova Financial Solutions software to BBVA Compass, and helped the bank to implement the system.

The new infrastructure cut the time it takes to open a new account from 45 minutes to five minutes, and, by eliminating most of the coding needed to develop new products, BBVA can now bring new products to market 75 percent faster.