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BBVA plans fintech spending spree

Spanish bank BBVA plans to dramatically increase its investment in financial technology (fintech) companies.09 Jul 2015

BBVA chairman Francisco González told the Wired Money 2015 conference that the bank plans to increase its venture capital fund to invest in fintech opportunities across Europe and particularly in the UK, the Financial Times said.

González started his career as an IT programmer and sees technology as a driver in improving people's lives, BBVA said in a report on the speech.

Smartphones and digital technologies are transforming customers' expectations in how they interact with banks, and a new wave of "digital rivals" is offering simple, low-cost financial products and services that will come to compete with mainstream banking.

"Only a few incumbents" will survive this new ecosystem, González said, and BBVA will be one of them.

Customers are increasingly interacting with BBVA digitally, González said. Digital channels now account for 26% of client interactions, for 13.3 million clients, of which 6.7 million are mobile banking customers.

"We are working to make sure users can manage their relationship with the bank in the way that's most convenient for them," González said.

The bank has a new IT platform that is capable of processing over 400 million real-time transactions per day, and will grow to 1.4 billion per day by 2020, González said.

González said that BBVA has already invested in a number of companies including bitcoin transaction platform Coinbase, Prosper, Personal Capital, Taulia, DocuSign, SumUp, and venture capital funds Ribbit Capital and 500 Startups, BBVA said. 

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