The Mind Bank, a BBVA USA podcast, brings top insights from some of the sharpest minds across the United States. The topics will come from various areas and will cover different perspectives on issues that surround everyday life.
The Mind Bank, a BBVA podcast.
The very real, very exciting future of branches
BBVA USA frequently leads the banking industry in digital transformation, rolling out award-winning products, and collaborating with fintechs and tech giants to bring a new, convenient age of banking to its clients.
However, there is a common misconception with consumers and banking publications alike that deem digital banking and branches as mutually exclusive.
This is not the case with BBVA.
In 2020, BBVA saw some developments that proved this - especially when considering the pandemic. In this podcast, we’ll take a look at BBVA’s actions in 2020, how it used innovation and data to reboot its branch network in a COVID world, and its branch strategy moving forward into 2021. Spoiler alert: Its branch strategy is moving in the opposite direction of most banks across the country.
We first start with the journey the bank’s branch network underwent at the onset of the pandemic, and how BBVA used it as an opportunity to implement its innovative thinking.
Prepare for an increased focus on sustainability
BBVA USA might don a logo steep in shades of blue, but make no mistake, over the past few years, the bank has turned its attention to a very green topic.
As part of the bank’s 5-year strategic plan, unveiled in January publicly and internally, the bank has included six pillars that are guiding its strategy as it dives headfirst into the next decade. With the global pandemic plaguing the entire globe, BBVA USA’s 5-year plan has not shifted - and in fact has become more relevant than ever.
One of those six pillars guiding its strategy is its second pillar that focuses on helping its clients to transition towards a sustainable future. This includes economic sustainability - and of course - environmental sustainability.
In addition to creating financial products and services to help clients understand, manage and control their own finances, BBVA is committed to helping clients prepare for an increased focus on sustainability from an environmental standpoint.
In this podcast, we take a look at what BBVA is doing in the U.S. to contribute to the bank’s belief that the future of financing is financing the future.
First we’ll take a look at the actions taken, and the updates, from the bank on a global scale, and then we’ll focus on what was a milestone product launch that signals the first step of what will be many in BBVA USA’s path to a sustainable future.
The current and future state of the U.S. mortgage industry
The mortgage scene can be a complex one. During normal times, consumers find themselves with a lot of questions that need to be answered in order to make an informed decision on one of the biggest milestones in their lifetimes.
And that’s during normal times.
Of course, the times in which we find ourselves now can be categorized as anything but. More variables are at play with the current health crisis, and as a result, questions have materialized around the mortgage scene, what has changed, what is the current and future situation with interest rates, what to keep in mind when considering refinancing, and other topics that could alter consumer decisions drastically.
BBVA USA Head of Mortgage Banking Murat Kalkan sat down recently with The Mind Bank to discuss a plethora of topics around the mortgage industry - and cleared up the current state of that space.
Scamming has been more prominent with more opportunities
While the pandemic created by the novel COVID-19 develops and sends Americans down an unprecedented path, fraudsters are jumping at the chance to capitalize on that uncertainty.
These scams target consumers and businesses alike, and have been rampant in the news cycle. Even more, as tax day has come and gone, the Internal Revenue Service has come out with it’s “Dirty Dozen”, which represents the worst of the current tax scams plaguing the U.S.
With uncertain times becoming more uncertain by the day, and the country facing a generational crisis, scamming has become more prominent with more opportunities. As families look to secure their financial and physical health, it is even more important to be extra vigilant in combating predatory practices.
When the pandemic first came to fruition in the U.S., BBVA.com came out with initial scamming practices caused by the pandemic. This is where we’ll start. But in this podcast, we’ll touch on a bevy of information involving a range of scams - explained by reliable resources.
"Amplifying digital transformation...is now more vital than ever"
The future will never look the same. If one were to scour news articles and studies around the current health situation, one will find that a good portion of medical experts will convey this concept. It’s difficult to say what the future will look like in multiple facets of society, but it’s safe to say that the ripple effects will be prominent, at least in the beginning.
Good health practices have dominated headlines. So have finances - both with small businesses and personal. With the Paycheck Protection Program and stimulus checks very much part of the U.S. COVID-19 narrative, the banking industry has also strolled down the path of adaptation. For BBVA USA operations, sights were already set on the future as the bank charted its journey into the 2020s. For more than a decade, the bank has been a pioneer in digital banking, foreseeing the impact of the digital revolution.
The bank has now launched its new mobile banking app, Mobile 9.0, and expanded transaction detail screen in mobile and online banking, capabilities already being developed pre-pandemic, and products that will further help people control their finances in the wake of the coronavirus.
However, these are just a few parts of the story regarding the future of banking in the eyes of BBVA.
BBVA USA President and CEO Javier Rodriguez Soler gives his take on the future of the U.S. banking industry, and BBVA USA Head of Business Development Jose Luis Elechiguerra dives deeper into the bank's new digital products.
"It made a huge difference" how quickly BBVA funded the PPP loan
While the ripple effects of COVID-19 have essentially hit almost every aspect of life in the U.S., the Paycheck Protection Program - part of the CARES Act passed by Congress in response to the negative economic impact the pandemic has had - has highlighted the difficulties that have befallen small businesses from coast-to-coast.
Also known as the PPP, the program is designed to incentivize qualifying small businesses to continue to pay its employees. The PPP has a maximum loan amount of $10 million and is designed to keep employees on a small business’ payroll for eight weeks.
BBVA's involvement in the program has yielded meaningful results. The bank was one of the first in the U.S. to open for applications so that applicants could be among the first in line for the federal funding program. The bank also trained hundreds of additional employees so that it can continue to process the applications quickly.
As of mid-April, BBVA USA’s share of job saving and retaining through this program would be more than 312,000.
A handful of those jobs came from Smarter Remodeling - a general contracting company specializing in commercial and residential renovations. Based in Jacksonville, Florida and founded by President and CEO Fabian Videla, the company found that it was not immune to the economic downturn caused by COVID-19. Faced with a crossroad that could have ended in a complete shutdown and the laying off of his employees - most of whom had no financial safety net - he turned to the Paycheck Protection Program.