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BBVA’s Scarlett Sieber on embracing innovative directions in banking

  • There's no right way of creating an innovative bank.
  • As a case study, BBVA is leading the way by innovating in multiple ways.
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BBVA’s Scarlett Sieber on embracing innovative directions in banking

While some banks and fintech professionals are still just talking about embracing new directions with their businesses, Scarlett Sieber and BBVA are doing just that today. Scarlett is the senior vice president of global business development and she’s created a live case study of reengineering an incumbent bank to become the center of a technology ecosystem. In Scarlett’s case, she’s helping BBVA to harness the innovation of external partners as well as bring in-house the core technology and design skills to take the bank into the future.

Scarlett presented at the Tradestreaming Money conference in NYC in November of 2016. The audio you’re about to hear was part of her talk about building financial ecosystems with leading banks at the center.

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Below are highlights, edited for clarity, from the episode.

Creating BBVA’s digital team

Our team has really diverse backgrounds. We definitely have technologists. We have a lot of people like me who have an entrepreneurial background both within financial services and from outside the industry. We have our experts in banking (you can’t be successful without having those people). We also have people from the PayPals of the industry. So, we have a very diverse global team.

 

BBVA's Scarlett Sieber on financial innovation

 

Building the bank of the future through internal incubation

We’re attacking the fintech ecosystem in a variety of ways. First, we do internal incubation, which is launching our own startups. We’re doing that simultaneously in Spain and in the U.S. We have about seven companies going to market in the next six months. These companies start as projects focused on problems BBVA is trying to solve and we kept them very much separate from the rest of the bank so they can go test things, learn quickly, and fail. We take those learnings back to BBVA if they don’t make it.

Using strategic partnership to drive innovation

We were the first bank to partner with Dwolla. For all the JP Morgans in the industry partnering with OnDeck, we were the first. We built a reputation in the industry of  looking for ways to attract new customers as well as ways to diversify our product offerings to our existing customer base.

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