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The impact of Covid-19 accelerates the drive to digitalisation

Bankia adds 187,500 new digital customers by June, who now account for 4 million, the 57.1% of the total

The deputy general director of Transformation and Digital Strategy has valued the importance that the entity attaches to digitization, innovation, cybersecurity and data analytics.

Communication Bankia

By  Communication Bankia

Publish on 
24 July 2020 - 13:00

  • Sales through digital channels increased by 38.2% until June in the year-on-year rate and represented 39.9% of the total compared to just 24.2% a year ago
  • During the lockdown, digital sales continued to rise and reached peaks of over 58% of the total
  • New customer registrations through digital channels reached record numbers in June and show year-on-year growth of 155%
  • Bankia has more than a million Bizum users with a 12.34% share of eight million users, with growth of more than 50,000 new users every month
  • Bianka, Bankia’s conversational assistant integrated in the App, facilitates operations with a powerful engine guided by artificial intelligence. The feature has already had more than 237,000 digital conversations with customers
  • The entity has launched numerous digital products and services, such as the ON Mortgage and the 'Bankia Expert Management’ digital management facility, as well as launching a new app

Bankia gained more than 187,500 digital customers during the first half of the year, bringing number of customers who work with the bank through remote channels to four million or 57.1% of the total.

In addition, new customer registrations through remote channels reached records numbers in June, growing by 155% compared to the same month last year and 43% over year end 2019.

This net increase in the number of digital customers is reflected in digital sales, whose share increased by 38.2% during the first six months in year-on-year rate, mainly through digital channels during the lockdown.

Remote purchases accounted for 39.9% of all the bank’s sales at the end of June, compared to 24.2% a year ago. In addition, during the Covid-19 lockdown there were peaks during which these sales accounted for more than 58% of the total.

Among the top-selling digital products are securities accounts, term savings, pension plans and investment funds.

"The digital transformation already underway in the financial sector, both from the point of view of internal processes and customer relationships, clearly speeded up in recent months as a result of Covid-19", said Carlos Torres, deputy general director of Transformation and Digital Strategy at Bankia.

"Although Bankia kept its branch network open during the lockdown, many customers have started to operate through digital channels. When they see how effective they are, we are sure they will continue to interact with us digitally, despite having the Bankia branch network and a contact person available”, added Torres.

In this regard, the head of Transformation and Digital Strategy of Bankia stressed that "the broad technological transformation undertaken by Bankia in recent years has paid off and has readied us to face this unexpected situation, while ensuring high-quality customer services, although technology is just a means to an end". People are important to us, and so we use technology as a way of making our customers' lives easier", he said.

So far this year, customers’ use of Bankia’s digital channels has skyrocketed, with an average of more than 63 million visits per month to the Bankia App and through Bankia Online, 40% more than a year ago.

Bankia has received numerous awards from independent experts like Autonomous, a firm of analysts, whose latest report rates Bankia as the best bank in Spain in terms of digitalisation. Along with this, Aqmetrix put the bank’s digital channels at the top of its ranking of Spanish banks in the first quarter. Recently, Bankia was named the company with the “Best Customer Experience Strategy” at the 7th DEC Awards by the Association for the Development of Customer Experience'.

When it comes to payment methods, Torres says that "we have made a firm commitment from the bank and, today, it is a strategic area for Bankia with great development potential that is working for us in an extraordinary powerful way”.

Bankia also offers its customers the option to use the main digital payment platforms available on the market: Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, PayPal or Bizum. This gives customers access to the comprehensive range of digital solutions that make paying easier, more convenient and secure.

By way of example, he explained that Bankia had exceeded one million users in Bizum by the beginning of June and gained a 12.34% share of all 8 million Bizum users with a growth of more than 50,000 new users each month.

Bankia's clients have carried out a total of 17.4 million transactions between friends using this service in the last twelve months and it is the only entity that allows these transactions to be carried out with a conversational assistant (Bianka) and a single instruction.

Bianka, Bankia's voice assistant integrated into the App, has a powerful engine guided by artificial intelligence and has already facilitated more than 237,000 digital chats with customers. Unlike other conversational assistants, Bianka does more than merely offer information. It is the only assistant in Spain that carries out operations and transactions, such as balance enquiries, moving money between accounts, checking movements, sending money through Bizum, among others. And, thanks to artificial intelligence, Bianka is learning and adding the new features that customers want.

Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity

Bankia’s General Director of Transformation and Digital Strategy stressed the importance that the entity attaches to digitalisation, innovation, cybersecurity and data analytics, mentioning the recently created Technology and Innovation Commission.

“By creating this commission, Bankia is strengthening its commitment to technology and innovation as cross-cutting levers for the entire organisation to drive new business models and develop products and services that make life easier for its customers, while contributing to increase the bank’s profitability and favour sustainable development”, said Torres.

In this regard, he stressed that the entity’s six main priorities in terms of technology are the transformation of channels (app and web), Artificial Intelligence applied to processes, Big Data, Cloud, the core transformation of the entity and cybersecurity.

Digital products and services

Torres said that in recent years, as well as having advanced, more efficient internal processes, Bankia has offered customers a wide range of products and services that make life easier for them.

The fact that they have developed a platform with a cognitive engine that allows them to process customers’ documents in real time in credit operations “has greatly facilitated the internal management of an avalanche of work due to requests for moratoriums and ICO loans”, says Torres. "Remember than in just eight weeks we have processed around 150,000 credit operations, practically the same number as during a full year under normal circumstances," he said.

For private customers, Bankia has a catalogue of 100% digital financial products, such as the ON Account, which is managed entirely online; the ON Loan, which is taken out 100% exclusively on Bankia Online and on the app; and the ON Mortgage, which is processed online with multi-channel manager support.

“Connect with your Expert” is a channel with specialised managers that allows customers to operate with Bankia by phone, email or chat from Bankia Online or the App, without having visit the branch. Customers can carry out all types of operations using this channel, from rejecting a direct debit to taking out a loan to buy a home.

Private customers of the bank also have the ‘Bankia Expert Management Online’ service, which can be subscribed through the internet office and the app, whereby customers entrust the management of their investments to Bankia. After defining the investor profile, the manager purchases a diversified fund portfolio accordingly, which is actively managed by the entity.

Meanwhile, self-employed workers have access to 'Bankia Online Autónomos' for their operations, where they can consult and operate on all their positions in the entity, regardless of whether they are linked to their professional activity or if they are related to their household finances.

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Mariano Utrilla Cortijo
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Ana Bernad Colás
DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL COMMUNICATION
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Leticia Lucio Álvarez
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María Navarro Caballero
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