Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria

Spain’s BBVA to launch digital bank in Germany by 2025

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Spain’s second-largest bank, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. (BBVA) (NASDAQ: BBVA), is set to launch digital banking services in Germany, joining other global giants targeting Europe’s largest economy.

BBVA has been on a digital push in recent years as it seeks to compete with its larger local rival, Santander, and stave off increasing competition from digital financial platforms. In its homeland, the bank is selling 300 branches to focus on digital offerings.

BBVA has also experimented with its digital push in Italy, where it launched in the pandemic era and now boasts over half a million customers.

According to multiple outlets, Germany is the bank’s next destination. It has appointed Javier Lipuzcoa, who heads its Italian operations, to lead the new venture, reported Bloomberg, citing multiple sources.

Peio Belausteguigoitia, BBVA’s country manager for Spain, confirmed the bank’s ambitions this week, stating, “Logically, we are replicating the successful model we have had in Italy in the German market (…) where we hope to have a digital bank by 2025.”

BBVA joins a rising number of global banks targeting the German market. American giant JPMorgan (NASDAQ: JPM) is expanding its presence in the country and plans to offer digital consumer banking. Dutch bank ING (NASDAQ: ING), which has a significant customer base in the country, is also expanding its digital presence. BBVA’s top rival, Santander, also recently partnered with Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) to offer financial services to German consumers.

However, it might be an uphill battle for BBVA and its peers, says Peter Barkow, the founder of Dusseldorf, Germany-based Barkow Consulting. He believes Germans are already overbanked, and it would take great incentives to lure them away from their banks.

“Germans tend to get divorced more frequently than they change accounts,” he stated.

On the digital assets front, BBVA’s Turkish subsidiary, Garanti BBVA, launched a digital wallet a week ago, the first of its kind in Turkey. Çağrı Süzer, the bank’s vice president, stated that the bank “will continue to grow by adding to our diversity of assets and our service infrastructure in the future.”

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