Carlos Torres is clear that the strategy does not go through size, but through profitability. This is how he explains it when asked about the future of BBVA. What is next beyond the leap he has now taken with Garanti?
"The sale of BBVA in the US in 2021 provided us with an enormous strategic option to grow in the markets in which we have leadership positions and increase the remuneration of our shareholders", comments the entity's president.
In this regard, "we have already largely executed the share buyback plan." Now, "after the buyback and the takeover bid in Turkey, we still have the ability to continue investing in the growth of our business."
"The priority is profitable growth, which creates long-term value, although this does not mean that we do not analyze the inorganic growth opportunities that arise if they create value."
Also in Mexico, now that the market contemplates the possible sale of assets of Citi and BBVA, as the leading entity, is it being considered as a candidate for the purchase?
Torres says that, effectively, "BBVA has the leading franchise in the Mexican market, in addition to being the most profitable bank in the country." But in Mexico "we are focused on continuing to invest in its organic growth and increasing our customer base."
Since 2016, "we have increased our number of clients in Mexico by 85%, from about six million to 13.4 million." However, after the takeover bid for Garanti in Turkey, this country captures all the attention, with all its pros and cons. "Turkey is a strategic market. In the short term, "there are undoubtedly tensions and uncertainties, such as high levels of inflation, currency depreciation or the challenge of financing the economy's foreign deficit."
Furthermore, "we estimate that the war in Ukraine may lower GDP growth." But "despite short-term uncertainties, the country has enormous long-term potential.
It has a high growth potential, "higher than the EU average," says Torres, for whom there are other concerns, Ukraine and interest rates.
The war is not being brief and, in addition to the "so dramatic" humanitarian impact, "economically, we are heading towards a new world order of blocks different from the globalization of recent decades." On the other hand, "the monetary policy of the European Central Bank (ECB) will be crucial." "The return to a normalized situation of interest rates in the European Union [higher, something that benefits banks] would be desirable, but we are in a complex context that requires caution on the part of the ECB", explains the president of BBVA .