History of BBVA
The history of BBVA is the history of the many different people who have been a part of the more than one hundred financial institutions that have joined our corporate endeavor since it originated in the mid-19th Century. Today at BBVA, we work to create a better future for people, seeking to build long-lasting relationships with our customers that change our way of looking at the business. As a result, BBVA has become a global leader and one of the world’s most renowned and award-winning banks.
BBVA is firmly committed to the future and is a pioneer in adapting to the needs of an increasingly global market and especially, to the banking industry of the 21st Century.
More than 160 years of experience support this commitment.
The history of BBVA dates back to 1857 in the city of Bilbao, in northern Spain, where the Board of Commerce promoted the founding of the Banco de Bilbao as an issuance and discount bank. This was a pioneering initiative that was driven by the economic growth in the region. Until the end of the 19th Century, it was the city’s only bank.
Fachada Banco de España
On December 2 1872, the Banco Hipotecario (BHE), a mortgage bank, was founded for the purpose of granting long-term credits guaranteed by real estate properties.
In the second half of the 19th Century, Banco de Bilbao financed several important infrastructure and steel industry projects. In 1878, it lost the right to issue its own banknotes and was restructured as a loan and discount bank. Banco de Vizcaya was founded in 1901; it carried out its first transactions in Bilbao and little by little, began to expand throughout the country. Apart from its activity as a commercial and depositary bank, Banco de Vizcaya took part in the creation and development of a large part of Spanish industry. In 1902, Banco de Bilbao and the Banco de Comercio merged, although both institutions maintained their status as legal entities.
In 1909, Caja Postal was created as a public-law entity and in 1916, it began to issue and administer savings account passbooks..
A consortium of bankers and industrialists founded the Banco de Crédito Industrial (BCI) in 1920, for the express purpose of promoting the installation and consolidation of industry by granting long-term credits. Banco de Bilbao and Banco de Vizcaya were part of that consortium.
In 1923, the National Agricultural Credit Service was created. A dependency of the Agriculture Ministry, it granted credits to agricultural and livestock associations, under the joint and several responsibility of its associates.
During the economic development of the 1960s, Banco de Bilbao expanded, acquiring other banks and starting to create a financial group. Meanwhile, Banco de Vizcaya continued to grow and establish itself as a modern, universal bank and an important financial group. More flexible rules on opening offices allowed it to expand its commercial network.
Ampliación de serviciosCaja Postal added more customer services, including checking accounts, stock purchases/sales, and lending in certain areas. The 1962 Banking Law nationalized BCI, BHE and BCL and transformed the National Agricultural Credit Service into the Banco de Crédito Agrícola (BCA). All four banks became entities governed by public law. But in 1971, they became official credit institutions (under the Law Regulating Official Credit) as limited companies.
In the 1980s, Banco de Bilbao based its strategy on reaching a size that would allow it to access the financial business that was then emerging from the technological advances, deregulation, securitization and the interplay between national and international markets. Banco de Vizcaya contributed to the rescue of banks that were affected by the economic crisis and developed a policy of strong growth through acquisitions, which led it to create a large banking group. Its most significant operation was its purchase of Banca Catalana in 1984.
Meanwhile, the official credit institutions continue to expand their business with market operations. In 1982, BEX lost its exclusivity of export credit, redirecting its business to universal banking, and formed a financial group. It acquired Banco de Alicante (1983) during this process. In 1988, Banco de Bilbao and Banco de Vizcaya agreed to a merger to create BBV.
Corporación Bancaria de España was established in 1991 as a state-owned enterprise and credit institution with the status of a bank. Its history began with a federated banking model, but in 1988 Corporación Bancaria de España (now privatized through public offerings), BEX (merged with BCI), BHE and Caja Postal merged into a single bank under the brand Argentaria.
BBVA unified its network of offices in Catalonia in May 2013 after the acquisition of Unnim Banc was complete.
The merger of BBV and Argentaria
BBVA and Argentaria announced their merger on October 19, 1999 in an effort to continue adding value, creating the new bank (BBVA). It was of a substantial size, with strong solvency, a large financial structure, ample geographic diversification of business and risks, and as a result, greater potential for growing its profits.
Customers now had access to an extensive distribution network, a wider range of products, new channels and a strong international presence. Employees, meanwhile, had greater opportunities for professional development.
The integration of the two banks was exemplary because:
Strategic decisions were made quickly. The organizational structure was defined immediately and a framework agreement was established with workers.
Working groups were formed and plans for the different areas of activity were defined quickly.
Ambitious deadlines were met, sometimes ahead of schedule.
The effort benefitted from the excitement, participation and team spirit shown by everyone in BBVA.
The integration process received a major boost when a single BBVA brand was adopted in January 2000. This allowed the bank to create, in very little time, an image based on its own unique identity. BBVA’s integration process took place quickly and efficiently and concluded in February 2001.
The integration of the group’s retail businesses in Spain (BBV, Argentaria, Banca Catalana, Banco del Comercio and Banco de Alicante) allowed the bank to take advantage of the potential offered by an extensive network of branches with the BBVA image.
Prestigious financial publications recognized the efficiency of BBVA’s integration, naming it the best bank in the world (Forbes) and in Spain (The Banker) and in the year 2000, the best bank in Latin America (Forbes) and the best bank in Europe (Lafferty) in 2001.
The international group
BBVA in the world
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, it has leading franchises in South America and the Sunbelt Region of the United States. It is also the leading shareholder in Turkey’s BBVA Garanti. Its purpose is to bring the age of opportunities to everyone, based on our customers’ real needs: provide the best solutions, helping them make the best financial decisions, through an easy and convenient experience. The institution rests in solid values: Customer comes first, we think big and we are one team. Its responsible banking model aspires to achieve a more inclusive and sustainable society.