The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookiesbefore using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Digital bets revive BBVA’s global ambitions

After the 2020 sale of its US bank, BBVA’s global ambitions in retail are alive and well. It has entered Brazil with digital bank Neon, ploughed more capital into UK app-based lender Atom Bank and launched in Italy in a way that presages branchless growth across the eurozone.

Photo: Reuters

During the past two years, international sales by big banks have been seen to signal the demise of global ambition in retail banking, but things are different at Spanish banks, including BBVA.

The Madrid-based lender started the latest round of US exits by big European banks in late-2020, with the sale of BBVA USA to PNC. That was not long after it had sold banks in Chile and Paraguay, in the late 2010s.

The sale of HSBC’s US retail business followed in May 2021. BNP Paribas then sold Bank of the West to BMO for $16.3 billion in cash in December 2021. Meanwhile, Citi is paring back in global retail banking to such an extent that it put its Mexican consumer business on the block in January.

However, unlike at Citi and BNP Paribas, there is no suggestion that BBVA’s US sale signalled a retail-banking retrenchment to its home country or region. Indeed, in November, BBVA did the opposite, launching a voluntary takeover bid for the 50.15% share it did not own in Garanti BBVA, Turkey’s biggest bank by market capitalization. Its ownership of Mexico’s biggest bank Bancomer is still the jewel in its crown, and it retains top-tier positions elsewhere in Hispanic America, notably Colombia and Peru.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree