Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria: Wikis


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Grupo BBVA
Founded 1999
Headquarters Bilbao, Spain
Key people Francisco González (Executive chairman), Ángel Cano Fernández (President and COO)
Industry Financial services
Products Banking, insurance, asset management
Revenue 20.67 billion (2009)[1]
Operating income €12.31 billion (2009)[1]
Profit €4.210 billion (2009)[1]
Total assets €535.1 billion (2009)[1]
Employees 103,720 (2009)[1]
BBVA headoffice building in Bilbao.
BBVA offices in Bilbao
BBVA building in Madrid

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), (NYSEBBVA, BMADBBVA) is a multinational Spanish banking group. It was formed in 1999 from a merger of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya and Argentaria, both of which in turn had previously amalgamated three important banks in Spain, namely Banco de Bilbao, Banco de Vizcaya, Banco Exterior de España and the state-owned Caja Postal de Ahorros, with other minor entities. BBVA is the second largest bank in Spain and 7th largest financial institution in the Western world with a market capitalization of over 61 billion . The bank has recently focused on overseas expansion, and now operates in 40 countries. Like many other Spanish companies, it enjoys a dominant position in Spanish-speaking Latin American countries. It also has a strong presence in southern European countries, especially Portugal and Italy, and has announced its intention to expand into the United States and in Asia.



BBVA’s story began in 1857 when the Spanish Board of Trade sponsored the creation of Banco de Bilbao as a currency-issuing and discount bank. Until the 1890s it was practically the only bank in the Basque Country. In the second half of the 19th century Banco de Bilbao played a leading role in operations involving infrastructure projects and development of the steel industry. In 1878, it lost the right to issue currency and reorganised as lending and discount bank. Banco de Vizcaya was set up in 1901. It carried out its first operations in Bilbao and gradually extended throughout Spain. Apart from its activities as a commercial and general purpose bank, it intervened in the creation and development of a large part of Spanish industry. In 1902, Banco de Bilbao merged with Banco del Comercio although both continued to operate as separate entities. In 1909, Caja Postal de Ahorros was set up as a public entity and started operations in 1916, based on savings books. A consortium of bankers and manufacturers founded Banco de Crédito Industrial (BCI) in 1920 with the express aim of boosting the installation and consolidation of industry through long-term lending. Both Banco de Bilbao and Banco de Vizcaya formed part of this consortium. In 1923, the Servicio Nacional de Crédito Agrícola was created under the ministry of agriculture to provide loans to agricultural associations against the joint and several liability of their members. A combination of public and private interests set up Banco de Crédito Local (BCL) in 1925 in the form of a joint-stock company. Its purpose was to finance local authorities and other public institutions. Banco Exterior de España (BEX) was created in 1929 to encourage foreign trade, to seek new markets for Spanish products and to help local companies with imports and exports.


Development in the 1960s

Banco de Bilbao grew further, absorbing other banks. At the same time Banco de Vizcaya also expanded and began to emerge as an important financial group. Greater flexibility by the authorities regarding new branches allowed it to extend its network. Caja Postal added current accounts, securities and specific credit lines to its existing services. The Banking Sector Reform Act 1962 nationalised BCI, BHE and BCL and converted the Servicio Nacional de Crédito Agrícola into Banco de Crédito Agrícola (BCA). All four thus became public entities. However in 1971 they were recast as joint stock companies and became official loan entities (under the Official Credit System Act).

Development in the 1980s

During the 1980s, Banco de Bilbao’s strategy was to attain sufficient size in order to participate in financial operations generated by advances in technology, deregulation, securitisation and the interrelationship between domestic and international markets. Banco de Vizcaya contributed to the refloating of banks affected by the economic crisis and pursued a policy of strong growth through acquisitions. This turned it into a large banking group. The most important operation was the acquisition of Banca Catalana in 1984. In the meantime, the official credit entities expanded their business through market operations. In 1982, BEX lost the exclusive right to provide export finance. It refocused its goals on becoming a universal bank and on building a financial group. During this process it acquired Banco de Alicante in 1983. In 1988, Banco de Bilbao and Banco de Vizcaya merged to form Banco Bilbao Vizcaya (BBV).

Corporación Bancaria de España (CBE) was set up in 1991 as a government corporation and credit entity with bank status. Argentaria started out with a federated banking model. However, in 1998, Corporación Bancaria de España (already privatised via IPOs), BEX (which had merged with BCI), BHE and Caja Postal were merged into a single bank, Argentaria.


BBV and Argentaria announced their planned merger on October 19, 1999. The new group had the advantages of significant size, a strong capital base, a considerable financial structure and appropriate geographic diversification of its business and risks. As a result there was a greater profit potential.

Customers now had access to a larger network and a wider range of products. They also enjoyed easier access to new channels and a considerable international presence. Employees also had more opportunity for career advancement. The smooth integration of BBVA was attributed to the following:

  • the speed of strategic decisions
  • the immediate definition of the new organisation and a framework agreement with employees
  • the speed with which working groups were set up and plans were made for each area of activity
  • the successful achievement of ambitious timetables
  • the enthusiasm, commitment, effort and co-operative spirit

The integration process was given an important boost in January 2000 by the roll-out of the single BBVA brand. This helped the group generate an image that was strongly positioned in terms of identity and distinguishing characteristics.

The integration of the group's retail businesses in Spain (BBV, Argentaria, Banca Catalana, Banco del Comercio and Banco de Alicante) led to the creation of a significant branch network under the BBVA banner. The efficiency of the BBVA integration was recognised by top financial publications. In 2000 it was chosen World’s Best Bank (Forbes) and Best Bank in Spain (The Banker). In 2001, it was Best Bank in Latin America (Forbes) and Best European Bank (Lafferty).

Entering the U.S. market

In 2005, BBVA Group acquired Laredo National Bank, based in Laredo, Texas. In 2006, it acquired Texas Regional Bancshares of McAllen, Texas, and State National Bancshares to become the fourth biggest bank of Texas after Wells Fargo, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase.

On February 16, 2007, BBVA announced a definitive agreement to acquire Compass Bancshares Inc. based in Birmingham, Alabama. BBVA plans to create the biggest bank in the Sun Belt by consolidating all those banks to create BBVA Compass.[2]

Strategic move into Asia

In the year 2006, BBVA outbid Banco Santander Central Hispano, Bank of America, and formed an alliance with China CITIC Bank one of the biggest banks in China by acquiring a stake in the bank and in CITIC International Financial Holdings Limited (CIFH), China Citic Group’s main international arm.

Details and memorandum of the deal are as below:

  • The BBVA Group is announcing an investment of €989m, the biggest outlay by a Spanish company in mainland China and Hong Kong so far
  • BBVA will acquire 5% of China CITIC Bank (CNCB) for €501m with an option to increase to 9.9%
  • It will also purchase a 15% stake in CITIC International Financial Holdings (CIFH) for €488m and could increase this in the coming months
  • The alliance between BBVA and CITIC covers the development of retail and corporate banking in mainland China and Hong Kong, one of the fastest growing markets in the world, via CNCB and/or CIFH
  • BBVA and CIFH (CITIC Group’s international arm) will conduct corporate banking, investment banking and treasury business across the Asia region
  • BBVA will have one director on CNCB’s board and two on CIFH’s

CNCB, whose head office is in Beijing, has assets of €62.2 billion, 13,485 employees (as of June 2006) and 416 branches, distributed throughout mainland China

  • CIFH, whose headquarters are in Hong Kong, has assets of €9.3 billion, 1,711 staff and 38 branches

BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge and Culture Awards

The BBVA Foundation runs the annual BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge and Culture Awards in order to recognize and encourage world-class research and artistic creation, prizing contributions of broad impact for their originality and theoretical significance. The name of the scheme is intended to encapsulate both work that successfully enlarges the scope of our current knowledge – pushing forward the frontiers of the known world – and the meeting of different disciplinary areas.

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards take in eight prize categories: Basic Sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics), Biomedicine, Ecology and Conservation Biology, Information and Communication Technologies, Economics, Finance and Management, Contemporary Music, Climate Change and Development Cooperation.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "Annual Results 2009" (PDF). BBVA. Retrieved 2010-01-27. 
  2. ^ [1]. El Mundo online Spanish newspaper.

External links


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