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Goirigolzarri: “Bankia is embarking on a growth phase that will revolve around corporate governance and values, customers and teams”

28 November 2017

Category: Corporate

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José Ignacio Goirigolzarri, Executive Chairman of Bankia, during his speech at Europa Fórum.

  • Goirigolzarri sets challenge of improving the bank’s reputation, “which can only be achieved by permanently improving our corporate governance and consolidating our principles and values”
  • “The customers are the ones who justify and give a meaning to Bankia. Without them, there is no project, no results, no value creation and no salaries or jobs”
  • “Our customers’ satisfaction has increased and today stands at record high levels; what’s more, the dynamics of our customer base has changed radically”
  • Bankia’s goal is “to maintain our leadership in efficiency, solvency and profitability among the large Spanish banks”
  • Technology is a “great instrument for improving efficiency and delivering excellent service to customers”, so “we will continue to invest heavily”, based on “the principles of pragmatism and profitability”
  • “At the end of this year we will be released from the limitations of the Restructuring Plan and so will be able to start new lines of activity in the fields of financing, real estate development, capital markets and large corporations”
  • “Another source of growth will be non-organic”, through the merger with BMN

Bankia's chairman José Ignacio Goirigolzarri today said that the new growth phase the bank is starting out upon, leaving the restructuring process behind, will be marked by continued effort to improve the bank's reputation and further raise the level of customer satisfaction.

In a word, customers are the only ones who justify and give meaning to our project. Without customers, there is no project, no results, no value creation and no salaries or jobs.

José Ignacio Goirigolzarri
Executive Chairman of Bankia.

During his speech at Fórum Europa, coinciding with the fifth anniversary of the approval of the bank's Restructuring Plan by the authorities in Brussels, Goirigolzarri explained that the main lines of work set out by the bank for this new phase are "corporate governance, principles and values, customers and teams".

The Bankia's chairman said that the level of customer satisfaction "will continue to be the core variable for our management", which will call for active listening and increased investment in learning about customers' needs.

"In a word, customers are the only ones who justify and give meaning to our project. Without customers, there is no project, no results, no value creation and no salaries or jobs," Goirigolzarri said.

Record high customer satisfaction levels

In January 2016, as a result of the active listening process launched by Bankia in order to understand customers' needs, the bank launched its new commercial strategy. Since then, "the satisfaction of our customers has risen and today stands at record high levels; what's more, the dynamics of our customer base has changed radically".

At the end of the third quarter, the monthly net increase in individual customers was 14,488, while in the businesses segment the annual rate of growth in customers with financing has reached 6%.

The bank's chairman said the challenge now was to exploit "the enormous opportunities arising from the growth of the customer base", so as to "boost market shares in businesses, consumer finance and high value added products, as an essential precondition to improving our profitability".

Bankia's goal is "to maintain our position of leadership in efficiency, solvency and profitability among the large Spanish banks".

Goirigolzarri noted that technology is "a huge opportunity" and a "great tool for improving our efficiency and delivering excellent service to our customers". "It helps us understand what our customers want and deliver better service." For that reason, "we will continue to invest heavily" in technology, always having regard to "the principles of pragmatism and profitability".

Along these same lines, the Bankia's chairman emphasised that "in order to get the most out of technology, we must shun all dogmatism and listen to our customers", because technology "is a means, whereas the end is customer satisfaction."

The key factor: people

Even so, Goirigolzarri said he was convinced that "the key to Bankia's future will be the same as in the past: our people". The main reason for the bank's development is the psychological transformation of the Bankia team, Goirigolzarri said, pointing out that the results achieved in recent years "have given us self-confidence and the pride of belonging".

"We who work at Bankia have a motivational bonus that comes from the social impact of our project" and, to the extent that our goals are met, "we will be earning the trust our customers have placed in us by helping to pay back the state aid and, in all humility, helping to improve the international image of the Spanish financial system".

Another goal that will continue to guide the bank's management, said Goirigolzarri, is the challenge of improving its reputation, "which can only be achieved by permanently improving our corporate governance and consolidating our principles and values".

As a result of the strides the bank has made in this area over the last few years, "Bankia is now considered by proxy agencies as a benchmark in corporate governance practices". Last September, it was announced that Bankia would be included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) for the second year running, confirming its status as one of the world's most sustainable companies.

The chairman emphasised that the financial sector faces "very great" challenges, such as the pressure on income resulting from low interest rates, the increase in regulation and a competitive framework threatened by the entry of new players, "reflecting changes in customers' habits and the technological revolution".

Without minimising these challenges, Goirigolzarri declared, "I prefer them to the challenges we faced in 2012, when the question was whether we would survive."

Restructuring Plan

Looking back and taking stock of this period, Goirigolzarri recalled that the only condition he set on agreeing to take charge of the bank was that "our management would not be subject to any kind of political interference, that we would have full freedom to manage the bank on a strictly professional basis." "And today I have to say that that commitment has been scrupulously adhered to, which is very much to be appreciated," he said.

In his speech, Bankia's chairman acknowledged that today "is a very emotionally charged anniversary for me and for the whole of Bankia team, as it is exactly five years since the signing of the Restructuring Plan with the EU".

Goirigolzarri pointed out that the injection of public funds at that time "made us solvent" but was no guarantee of the project's viability, because "for a project to be viable, it must be able to achieve sustainable profitability over time".

End of Brussels limitations

In exchange for the injection of capital, the Restructuring Plan imposed on Bankia a series of constraints and limitations, "from which we will be released at the end of this year", when "we will be back on an equal footing with our rivals".

This circumstance "will give us more flexibility in our management and open up new lines of activity, which will be especially important in the fields of financing, real estate development, capital markets and large corporations."

Apart from these levers of growth, Goirigolzarri also referred to the non-organic growth resulting from the integration of BMN and said he was "very satisfied with the way this process is going". He predicted that the timetable would be met, given that "at Bankia we have a proven capacity for integration and synergy creation which we hope to confirm in this latest operation".

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