HOUSTON, July 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- BBVA USA announced today that it has begun the process of reopening its branch lobbies, originally closed in mid-March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although branches continued to provide drive-thru services throughout the pandemic, the vast majority of lobbies were closed as a proactive measure to protect the health and well-being of customers, employees and communities. The lobbies will begin reopening in markets identified as "ready to reopen" based on a data-driven proprietary model to guide decision making. The bank will continue to monitor incoming data in the event it needs to rescind reopening decisions for the safety of its employees and clients.
"Recent weeks have made it clear that the pandemic is not done with us yet," said BBVA Head of Retail Banking Larry Franco. "The pragmatic model we're using to reopen allows us to understand this external environment and make plans based on emerging data and conditions. All of these decisions are being made with the utmost care for the health and safety of our team and customers."
The proprietary model uses both internal and external data when considering whether to reopen branch lobbies in certain areas. External data evaluated includes the number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people within a county, the cases per square mile and the new cases curve and forecast. Internal data considers the branch employees who are available to work, the ability to socially distance within the lobby and the risk level of interactions. Taken together, these considerations create a ready-to-open score which guides reopening decision-making.
"It's important that we open our branch lobbies, because we know that customers want and need face-to-face interaction, particularly now when they may have more questions than ever about their unique financial situation, but we have to do it in a responsible way," Franco said. "Using a data-driven approach that considers internal and external factors is the best way we can do this, particularly as we monitor how COVID-19 numbers are rising in certain areas across our footprint."
For those branches with lobbies that have been deemed "ready to open," the bank is taking further steps to ensure both customer and employee health and well-being. These include requiring masks for all employees in the reopened branches, arranging for more frequent cleanings, providing more health and safety supplies that include gloves and hand sanitizer, Plexiglass installation, signage to direct the flow of foot traffic within the branch, updating guidelines for engaging with customers and potential customers, and more.
"We want to make the return to more normal operations a smooth one, for our team and for our customers," Franco said. "While we are cognizant of their health while in the branch, we need to make sure conditions are telling us whether it's prudent to open the lobby at all. We are endeavoring to make responsible decisions, so as we gradually reopen lobbies, we will revise any move-forward decisions based on what our model is telling us."
In recent weeks, BBVA USA has announced the launch of two new digital services - Mobile 9.0 and Expanded Transaction Detail - and its plans to open 15 new branches in 2021 across Texas. Each initiative underscores the bank's 5-year strategic plan, launched in early 2020.
For more financial information about BBVA in the U.S., visit bbvausa.investorroom.com.
BBVA (NYSE: BBVA) is a customer-centric global financial services group founded in 1857. The Group has a strong leadership position in the Spanish market, is the largest financial institution in Mexico, and has leading franchises in South America and the Sunbelt Region of the United States. It is also the leading shareholder in Turkey's Garanti BBVA. BBVA's purpose is to bring the age of opportunities to customers by providing the best solutions and helping them make the best financial decisions through an easy and convenient experience. The institution's responsible banking model aspires to achieve a more inclusive and sustainable society. BBVA rests on three solid values: customer comes first, we think big and we are one team.
In the U.S., BBVA is a Sunbelt-based financial institution that operates 641 branches, including 330 in Texas, 89 in Alabama, 63 in Arizona, 61 in California, 44 in Florida, 37 in Colorado and 17 in New Mexico. The bank ranks among the top 25 largest U.S. commercial banks based on deposit market share and ranks among the largest banks in Alabama (2nd), Texas (4th) and Arizona (6th). In the U.S., BBVA has been recognized as one of the leading small business lenders by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and ranked 14th nationally in terms of dollar volume of SBA loans originated in fiscal year 2019.
SOURCE BBVA USA