Often, large banks are able to offer services that can make life easier for them and help them make better decisions. And BBVA has developed a whole range of products and services, which is a clear example of them, with functions such as the award-winning Bconomy and ‘fintechs’ developed internally as Denizen (which offers the first truly global bank account).
But there are times when, because of the breakthrough or innovative concept, or because it is a product for a very specific niche that does not have the scale to fit into the business model of a large entity, are the financial technology companies those that are better able to develop certain types of products or services.
About the type of collaboration that is most convenient for a large bank (that is, working side by side with one or two ‘fintechs’ in a couple of specific ideas, as opposed to collaborating more broadly with several), White has explained that the ‘fintechs’ usually start working with a particular product or problem of a client in mind, to develop ideas from there.
“The good thing about this,” he added, “is that these ‘fintechs’ are solving very concrete problems that affect customers.” However, for White, the challenge that many ‘fintechs’ face globally, ” is to take the leap and overcome that very narrow business model with which they start, and to do it well “.
“And this is where the bank can help,” he continued, “offering access to clients, partners, and investors much more quickly than they would generally be able to if they did it on their own.”
BBVA Awards, one of the leading banks in digital strategy The consulting company 11: FS has distinguished BBVA, for the second consecutive year, as one of the best providers of digital financial services in the world.
The event, with followers in more than 155 countries, has been focused on the how and why these two types of companies form alliances, what the relationship brings to each of the parties and why sometimes the thing ends in rupture.
But, apart from the more intelligent analysis, during the program there was also time for fun and to review, in a casual tone, the European ‘fintech’ ecosystem.
During the introduction to his interview with Derek White, Simon Taylor, co-founder of 11: FS, joked about how for Derek the event should be something like going into a bar and finding it full of old girlfriends, because among the guests there were representatives of several companies for which I had previously worked.
To begin the interview, Taylor asked White to explain how BBVA plans to collaborate with the ‘fintechs’.
For White, the reason why both sectors join forces is simple: the digital age means that customers should be able to do what they want with their money and data, in the way that suits them best.
Regarding BBVA’s collaboration model with ecosystems, White explained that “we put it in four terms:
Developments, acquisitions, associations and investments, that by continuing with the romantic vein of the evening, we could equate it with different degrees of physical intimacy to which a relationship can be reached “.
To which Taylor has replied: “So, if this is what you are constantly evaluating, what would you rate as better or worse – how do you know how far you want to go in the relationship? You are aware of your priorities, but there has to be a human component as well, right? ”
To which White has responded: “Of course. When I started investing, someone gave me very good advice. That invested in the team, in the team and in the team. That people are what matter. ”
“The important thing is the equipment, but once you get it, you have to keep an eye on the product and ask yourself if that product is really good. Finally, when you have the equipment and the product is wonderful, the next question is if the customers are going to arrive. ”
Digital transformation How a global product is created in BBVA The global creation of products is one of BBVA’s key transformation pieces and is one of its main challenges in order to become a digital company. The objective is to develop solutions that incorporate the best practices of the Group and whose components can be reused to be more efficient, reach the market more quickly and create homogeneous user experiences in all countries.
And that, for White, is fundamental, because sometimes you can let yourself be dazzled by the charisma and the impetus of the people, but when you analyze things thoroughly, sometimes you realize that the product is not as good as it could be. be. And that customers are not interested.
He adds: “BBVA has launched seven companies in the last two years, but we have also closed two because despite the talent behind these projects, it has become clear to us that the product did not end up working with customers. And nothing happens. Nothing happens because a small percentage fails, because we learn a lot from each project and we can apply our conclusions in subsequent investments “.
Later, Taylor asked about this two-way relationship, if the key has always been the strength of the technology, and above all how it is decided what products or projects become part of the bank’s business.
White has answered yes, that the technology, the ideas, the user experience they seek is important, but not only that.
“Returning to the simile of the charism and the fund,” he explained, “in the face of the charism, one of the ‘startups’ that we acquired had a very interesting approach to values at a human level. The culture and the company are absolutely incredible. This acquisition has led us, a company founded 180 years ago, to rethink our purpose, to develop new values and behaviors for the entire company. ”
“The cultural impact of this charism that we have incorporated into the company has been enormous”.
To finish the interview, Taylor asked the BBVA executive to share a piece of advice with the 180 people attending the program’s recording and the tens of thousands of followers who listen to the program.
In the words of White himself: “The most important thing, as we move from a closed to an open system, is the ecosystem that we build together.
So, please, keep connecting with each other and working to keep things moving forward and helping you grow, because in the end everyone, both us and the customers, will be winning. “