Spanish banking group BBVA has merged two of its units to create a new financial technology (fintech) company named BBVA Next Technologies.
“BBVA Next Technologies is a company that specializes in emerging and disruptive technologies, that strives to stay ahead of the curve, looks at the future, and aims to recruit the best tech talent,” said Ricardo Jurado, CEO of the new company.
BBVA has long positioned itself at the forefront of the digital banking revolution, with its chairman Fransisco Gonzalez vowing as far back as 2015 to turn the firm into a software company.
One of its payment apps, already in use at restaurants in Spain, allows customers to pay by smiling in front of a small camera at cash registers.
In April this year, the bank invested US$50 million in the Sinovation Fund, a Chinese venture capital fund set up by former Google executive Kai-Fu Lee that aims to gain access to Chinese expertise in artificial intelligence.
It has also recently partnered with American AI companyIpsoft to automate call center services in Mexico. Furthermore, the bank is working with the Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure, and has over 100 employees certified in these platforms.