South American bank BBVA has allocated 40% of a $2.5 billion investment to doubling the number of customers who access the bank through digital channels.
BBVA has attracted more digital clients in the last year, and the bank has revised its objectives in response. “We will reach 6 million digital clients in the region in 2016,” said BBVA’s chief operating officer Ángel Cano.
In order to do so, BBVA has allocated 40% of a $2.5 billion investment to technological projects in a bid to become the region’s leading digital bank. BBVA has recently launched several new websites – a corporate site for BBVA Banca Continental in Peru and an online bank in Uruguay are two of the most successful examples. The bank has also developed new mobile banking solutions in the region, such as the app BBVA Móvil in Colombia. BBVA now has three million digital customers, a million of which now rely on mobile banking to interact with the bank’s services.
Cano stressed that BBVA not only needs to invest in channels, it also needs to design more digital services and products. “That is why we are developing a more digital offering,” he explained. “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.”
For example, SMS Banking in Peru has been developed for clients without a smartphone. The service makes it possible to transfer money and pay government services via SMS.
Ángel Cano explained that this transformation process toward a more digital model involves simplifying the banking process through digitization and automation. Nowadays more than 90% of financial translations are completed outside the branches.
But with the remaining 60% of the planned investment, BBVA is committed to attracting clients through more traditional methods. In regions such as South America there is still a lot of scope for the traditional business to keep expanding its client relationships and to attract people outside the banking world.
“For this reason, we keep opening new branches and installing ATMs at the same time as we develop new mobile solutions,” Cano stressed.
One hundred new branches have been opened, over 600 new ATMs with the latest technology have been installed and about 3,000 new agents have been added to the network of banking correspondents, which stimulates innovative models of cell phone based financial inclusion
“We want to offer our clients the best experience in all channels and to become the leading bank in terms of client satisfaction in South America,” Cano said. He also noted that BBVA wants to keep its position as a leading bank in the area. “We are sure about this and we will remain committed to this region because South America is part of BBVA and BBVA is part of South America.”
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