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Barefoot Innovation Podcast

Jul 1, 2015

Episode 6: The Innovative Bank - Manolo Sanchez, CEO of BBVA Compass

Can banks be innovators? If so, how?

In Episode 6, we tackle that topic with one of the most innovative bank executives in the world – Manolo Sanchez, the chairman and CEO of BBVA Compass. 

BBVA is the Spanish bank that bought the U.S. startup Simple, whose founders we featured in our podcast Episode 2 (“The Cheerful Disruptors”). Today’s discussion picks up the bank side of that equation.

It’s our first conversation with the leader of a large bank.  BBVA has over $700 billion in assets and a global reach. And what an interesting bank it is. When I first met Manolo several years ago, I had no idea they were heading into one of the most notable innovation strategies in the industry. Since then, they’ve made huge investments to modernize and integrate their IT, and have stood out for their active experimentation with innovative startups – working with them in various ways, and always, especially, learning from them.

A native of Spain, Manolo has worked for BBVA for nearly 25 years, holding positions in the corporate, investment and correspondent banking divisions of the bank. He is a graduate of Yale University and earned his master’s degrees in international relations from the London School of Economics and in advanced European studies from the College of Europe. His career has taken him to Paris, Madrid, New York, Mexico City and Texas.

As Chairman and CEO of the U.S. bank BBVA Compass, Manolo today lives with his wife and three children in Houston, where he’s a leader in a wide range of community-strengthening institutions. The bank also has major facilities in Birmingham, where it has anchored economic development including a newly-opened LEED-certified technology development center.

Manolo sets the tone for this “innovative, principled and customer-centric company” — and earned recognition as American Banker’s 2014 reputation survey leader — with the principle, “We work for a better future for people.”

In Episode 6, he explores the fertile landscape of financial innovation from the viewpoint of a major bank with a multi-year strategic vision to make BBVA the “next great bank in the U.S.”

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