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José Ignacio Goirigolzarri, president of Bankia, during his speech at the 5th National Congress of Directors of APD in Barcelona

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In the 5th National Congress of Directors of APD in Barcelona

Goirigolzarri: “We have to listen to what society is demanding of us”

The president of Bankia has indicated that the "most important challenge" facing banks is the reputational one. And that to this day, the sector has not managed to recover "that social recognition so necessary for any company".

Communication Bankia

By  Communication Bankia

Publish on 
22 November 2018 - 10:15

  • Bankia’s Chairman defends the need to “be concerned about and take care” of the financial sector’s reputation because it is “key to the future of society”
  • He stresses that technology is “one of the main strategic challenges facing the sector” and “a weapon that should allow us to improve the service to our customers”

In Barcelona, Bankia’s Chairman, José Ignacio Goirigolzarri, defended the need “to worry and take care of” the financial sector’s reputation by “listening to what society is demanding of us” because, he acknowledged, “when you listen to society, it is clearly very disappointed with the way that the financial system has operated during the crisis”.

Goirigolzarri participated in the 5th National Congress of the Association for Management Progress (APD), held in Barcelona yesterday and today under the slogan ‘The human company. If you can imagine the technology, it’s because it’s close ... But what are the consequences?’, in which he gave a presentation entitled ‘The challenges for the bank of the future’.

The Bank’s Chairman warned that “the biggest challenge” facing the bank concerns its reputation. In this regard, he admitted that the financial crisis has had “a very significant impact on the sector’s reputation” and, to date, has failed to recover “the social recognition that is so necessary for any company”.

The economic crisis has had a very important impact on the reputation of the sector and, to date, has not managed to recover that social recognition so necessary for any Company.

José Ignacio Goirigolzarri
Bankia’s Chairman

Thus, he stated that “maintaining an ongoing suspicion of the financial system will have negative repercussions in both the medium- and long-term for society as a whole”.

Goirigolzarri explained that the sector “must be profitable and transparent”, as a situation in which profitability is below the capital costs that investors require “is not sustainable over time”, because it will be undercapitalized and unable to finance its economy, slowing down the development of the country.

However, he emphasised that the progress in corporate governance practices is “unquestionable”, although he admitted that “we may continue making mistakes, because we’re fallible”.

“While we develop the above, we must explain to society what our role is”, he pointed out, later remarking that “we must demonstrate that a solid financial system is essential for ensuring a sustainable growth of the Spanish economy, which is, in turn, the means to ensuring a better standard of living for citizens and the necessary condition for tackling unemployment”.

Bankia’s Chairman stressed that “a society shouldn’t think that banks mustn’t make money” and therefore “it’s important to explain that the Spanish financial system compares very favourably in terms of quality of service with those of the other European and the United States systems”.

“Spanish banking has a very competitive offer in terms of price and services”

“Furthermore, the high level of competition existing in the sector has led to a very competitive offer, not only in terms of service, but also in terms of prices”, he highlighted during the 5th National Congress of Directors of APD. Thus, he stated, “the financing costs of Spanish SMEs, if adjusted according to the risk premiums of the different countries, are among the lowest in Europe”.

And, in the case of mortgages, “the rates, analysed by looking at the actual cost that the customer pays, have been well below those paid by the Germans, French, Italians or British in the last ten years," said Goirigolzarri, who defended that the mortgage system has been “very positive for Spanish society” and has allowed 80% of the population access to home ownership, much higher than the other countries around us.

Digital ethics

Goirigolzarri also acknowledged that the emergence of new technologies and changing habits of customers in the financial sector, as a result of its increasing digitization, is “one of the main strategic challenges” facing the bank.

“Investing in customer knowledge is the way to make our managers’ contacts efficient”, and these investments “have allowed Bankia to offer 55% of our customers a personalized management service via various channels,” he said.

“Technology is a weapon that should allow us to improve the service to our customers and, moreover, to do so efficiently” and “greater competition is very good because those who will most benefit are the customers,” he said.

In this regard, he said that he sees the entry of new competitors into the sector more as “an opportunity than as a threat”, but for this to be so, there must be “one regulation for all the players in the market.”

During the course of his speech, he appeared convinced that innovation combined with technology will give the bank an opportunity to develop “a much more efficient model, combined with an excellent service.”

And banks must strive to be “inclusive, transparent and accountable” in this process of implementing new technologies, because “customers also require that the financial institutions guarantee their right to privacy and the security of their data personal”, said Goirigolzarri, who explained that “this is what we defend from Bankia: digital ethics”.

“Neither people nor companies will use a technology in which they cannot trust”, he said, concluding that, in this process, the successful entities will be those that “provide a high quality response in the virtual relationships with their customers, promoting a digital ethic that protects data privacy, whilst at the same time accommodating the traditional distribution network, so that it is not a disadvantage, but rather a complement to the multi-channel means of contact and a source of competitive advantages”.

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