Director – Global Commercial Cards Product Owner
Questions for Sergio Ortega
How to make commercial payments easy-to-use, easy-to-access and quick-to-perform?
Commercial cards issuers have to reach the same level of convenience consumer cards have achieved over the last few years. Commercial cardholders assume they have to comply with certain company policies and rules. However, they expect similar user and payment experience, DIY – do it yourself – capabilities (i.e. switch on-off your card for presence payments or ecommerce) and loading their corporate card in most common wallets (Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, etc.) for mobile contactless payments.
What people, skills, and technologies are necessary in a digital bank?
In a digital bank we need our employees to change their mind-set and move from waterfall and certainties to agile and design thinking methodologies where you have to constantly deliver MVPs (minimum viable product), evaluate your KPIs and adapt to your clients’ needs in very short cycles.
Regarding technologies, we need to keep moving from legacy technologies to cutting-edge ones like cloud computing and data analytics in order to provide tailor made solutions to our clients.
What do you see as the biggest challenge in the area of commercial cards?
The biggest challenge is still to educate all size companies (starting with SMEs, followed by commercial and ending up with large multinationals) about the benefits of using commercial cards for their business trip expenses and long tail B2B payments versus the employee using cash or their consumer cards. Many companies still do not have clear expense policies or keep manual or outdated tools for expense submission and approval processes. COVID-19 and lockdowns are strongly challenging the status quo. For instance: where are the receipts or the invoices?, who is going to manually enter these expenses into the Word-Excel now that nobody is in the office?, should I send my expense receipts to my PA’s home address? And last but not least: some employees might not want to use their consumer card credit line, concerned about when their company is going to reimburse them.
We have recently launched BBVA Global Commercial Cards solution to tackle all those issues. There are benefits for all stakeholders:
- Employees: they have a secure and universally accepted payment solution that circumvents the use of cash or their consumer cards
- Card program managers: Overall view and day-to-day control with breakdown by subsidiary and country
- Financial Director: Automate expense reconciliation
- Purchasing and travel managers: Data analytics on each supplier’s purchase volume, which can be used to negotiate corporate rates
- Compliance and HR: Early detection of expenses out of corporate policy
- IT department: Card programme data is easily accessible through our integration with leading expense management and ERP platforms
The other challenge we are facing is the interchange regulation. In case further reductions take place in the future we will have to review the whole commercial cards value proposition.
How does your bank face the current challenges in mobile banking?
BBVA Enterprise Global Solutions is heavily investing in the creation of a global ecosystem addressing all treasury management needs: One Bank (for payrolls, payments and account payables), Global Supply Chain Finance, Global gateway for ecommerce, Global Commercial Cards and Global and Local Net Cash electronic banking fronts. Moreover, we have recently released Global Net Cash mobile app for global clients.
Sergio Ortega is responsible for BBVA’s global commercial cards solution development enabling local, regional and global enterprises to homogeneously manage the expenses made with commercial cards in BBVA footprint (Europe, LAC & USA). Sergio has 15 years of experience in Payments Systems, first in BBVA Spain (consumer issuing, acquiring and innovation) and since 2012 in global positions focused on commercial cards. He is leading BBVA’s global commercial cards solution business line development from scratch following design thinking & agile methodologies, coordinating cross-functional local, global, business & IT teams. Sergio has a Master Degree in Computer Science from Deusto University (Spain) and Aalborg University (Denmark). He also has an Executive MBA from Esade Business School (Spain).
Expert General Manager, Head of Innovation
KBC Asset Management
A Silver Lining of COVID-19
by Jurgen Vandenbroucke
A silver lining of COVID-19 is that COVID-19 gave society in general a digital boost. Yet, investments continue to be the least digitised financial product. Conversion rates of a digitised investment process fall way below the conversion rates at a branch. How can we improve digital conversion then? How can we lever the expanded reach of digitalisation to approach for example the many banking clients that do not yet hold any investment? Let us look at two aspects of this challenge: end-to-end digitalisation and addressing first-time investors.
The digitisation of investments in many cases restricts to automating the processes we know. But it takes more to engage investors digitally. The challenge is to preserve the human touch and take care of the emotional component of investing. Conversion rates substantially improve when building your process on behavioural finance findings.
Addressing wealthy savers, hence clients that do not hold any investment, requires a particular mindset and vocabulary. Those clients are not interested in hearing a story on diversification, preservation of purchasing power or bonds versus equity. Presenting the same situation from a different perspective, which is crucially their perspective, makes a big difference on the decision-making.
Use case. The API toolkit of everyoneINVESTED (*) includes a solution that turns your mobile banking app into a digital conversion engine. The API literally converts savers into first-time investors. Our solution seamlessly integrates into your process. The API takes as input pseudomised client specific financial data. The API gives as output an investor profile and the amount for the user’s first investment, ready for execution.
(*) everyoneINVESTED is the wealth tech spin-off of KBC, assisting you in bridging the digital distance between your clients and your investment solutions.
Jurgen Vandenbroucke, PhD, has over 20 years of experience at several senior positions within KBC Group. He currently serves as expert general manger and head of innovation at KBC Asset Management.
Jurgen values highly the sound academic underpining of innovations in the savings and investments area, witness his affiliations with University of Antwerp and the Ehsal Management School as lecturer and with the Edhec-Risk Institute as research associate. He regularly contributes to the peer-reviewed academic literature on applied behavioral finance.
Jurgen is married and has three daughters.