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Jose Sevilla: "I hope the society values the efforts of the branches"

The CEO of Bankia, José Sevilla, has responded to the questionnaire 'Thus it is managed in the era of the coronavirus', of the economic newspaper Expansión.

Communication Bankia

By  Communication Bankia

Publish on 
19 May 2020 - 15:00

In the interview, Sevilla tells how he is personally handling this situation and takes stock of the consequences and new forms of work that have been established in the bank, among which he highlighted the “adaptive capacity and commitment” of bank professionals.

The CEO of Bankia, José Sevilla, points out that the work carried out by professionals of the entity during the state of alarm "is a very important contribution to the peace of mind of citizens" and trusts that society will value this effort "in some moment ”.

Personal effectiveness is what drives the Bankia CEO every morning to move to the office. "I am going to my office, complying, of course, with all the hygiene and safety protocols established by the authorities. I could telework from home, but for personal efficiency I prefer to come to our building, ”he says.

A building that is currently empty, since "98% of the central services people and 50% of the office people are serving customers from home".

The situation generated by the pandemic has not reduced the frenetic pace of work by one iota, says the director. "In this new environment we have a lot more work than before, since the priorities have suddenly changed us. We have redefined the entire way of working of our bank, while we have had to review many plans and implement multiple initiatives to reduce everything in our power the economic damage that this situation is causing to hundreds of thousands of people and of companies in Spain ”, he points out.

We have 5,000 people serving customers at branches, which has great merit

José Sevilla
Chief Executive Officer of Bankia

The video call is the priority work tool that from the entity has been launched with great success and in record time, without neglecting the phone calls for those less numerous conversations. "I mainly use video calls because that way I feel closer to the people I am meeting with and it also allows me to be more focused. Two months ago, Teams (our videoconferencing application) was practically unknown to me and now we are inseparable ”, he confesses.

Enjoy family and some sport

The de-escalation allowed him to take the bike again on weekends. “Within the regulated hours and it has been great”, acknowledges Sevilla.

As for other types of distractions, he says he does not have much more time. "In fact, I have the feeling, which I think many people share, that separating leisure and work spaces becomes more complicated in this new environment. In the little time that I manage to get, I try to be more with my family (it is one of the few positive things that this critical situation allows us) and to read and watch a movie. My children are old enough to not need me to do their homework and they do not require me to play, so we try to share movies and series, and we have discovered the Parcheesi digital. We try to have lunch and dinner together and share the news of the day. I cannot help thinking about how difficult this situation has to be for parents with young children ”, he points out.

Teleworking, from concept to reality

Sevilla points out that the fact that telework has gone from being a concept to being a reality is a positive lesson from this crisis. "We are going to make progress in reconciliation and job flexibility with the conviction that it will allow us to be more efficient. From now on, we will telework much more frequently, but I think that, when sanitary conditions allow it, work on face-to-face teams will continue to prevail ”, he says.

A change of model that qualifies as radical at Bankia. "If I have been told two months ago that this could be done and that the bank was going to work at the frenetic pace with which it works and with the quality of the service being provided to customers, I would not have believed it. Bankia professionals have once again demonstrated that they have an amazing capacity for adaptation, effort and commitment. It makes me very proud ”, explains the director.

A parallel solution for the health and economic crises

The hardest part of this situation, without a doubt, is the health crisis that has arisen, says the CEO: "The number of deceased and infected, that one cannot say goodbye to their loved ones, the fear that each one has to touch one of our own or ourselves ...".

To all this we must add the economic crisis derived from the health one, with the consequent loss of jobs, people who have ceased to have income, companies closed and without knowing when and how they will be able to open. As he comments in his interview, Seville is clear about the priority to continue on the road to recovery "Having clear that the priority is to end the health crisis, each and every one of us has to do everything possible and impossible to move forward to companies, with the aim that the hardness of this situation will pass as soon as possible for all citizens. The more people keep their income or recover it, the sooner we can get out of this situation ”, he added.

A road to recovery that the banking sector is in better condition than in the previous crisis.

The solvency and liquidity situation of the banking sector allows us to focus on how to help people and companies that have run out of income.

José Sevilla
Chief Executive Officer of Bankia

"The solvency and liquidity situation in the banking industry is much better today than we had in the previous crisis and this allows us to focus on the objective of how to help all those people and companies that have run out of income. At Bankia we are making late payments for family loans, providing financing to companies on advantageous terms, with and without ICO guarantees, advancing pension and unemployment payments, and we have abolished ATM fees to facilitate use of the nearest party, regardless of which entity is the holder, to safeguard their health. We have even set up a service to take home shopping and medicines to pensioners. In the medium term, surely there will be changes in the habits of consumers, we will see how much and in what sense, and that will lead us to adapt our approach to the business. And teleworking itself, in the sense that I was commenting before, will make us more efficient and will lead to changes in the way we work ”, he points out.

New purposes for companies

In the opinion of the CEO, the new situation arising from this health crisis will accelerate the trend, which had already begun, to rethink the “purpose” of companies, prioritizing values related to the human team, solidarity and sustainability.

"I am convinced that important changes will take place not only in companies but also in society as a whole. Changes that will be derived from the need to overcome this crisis soon and with the least possible damage. In the short term, we can expect less globalization of economies and, in parallel, progress in digitalisation. But we will also see a growing concern to reduce the necessary increases in debt that will occur. I hope that in Spain this will drive us to better coordination between the public and private sectors, to avoid false confrontation between companies and people, and to appreciate the importance of a strong Europe ”, he concludes.

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