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24 May 2023

A promising first year with our clients

With Felipe Serani, Head of BBVA CIB Chile

One year after BBVA Spain's Representative Office opened in Chile, we spoke with Felipe Serani, Head of BBVA Corporate & Investment Banking Chile, who shares his opinions and the main milestones in this first year, as well as the challenges that lie ahead for the coming years.

  • How did BBVA's RO in Chile do in its first year of life? Has it met the area's expectations?

We're very happy with the results achieved during 2022, our first year in operation. We managed to grow with some of the most important companies in the country, and there is still a long way to go. We see the possibility of working more, and selectively, with financial institutions, and we have good prospects in the Project Finance business.  

Regarding the beginning of the year, we started 2023 with a very solid business pipeline, very committed to Chile and eager to continue growing in this strategic market for our presence in Latin America and for the BBVA Group. 

  • Can you give us data on the results from this first period?

In terms of results, we almost doubled the volume of transactions we had initially estimated. We are very happy with the really good response from customers. This is a clear reflection of how valuable the BBVA brand is in Chile and Latin America. 

  • What types of clients does the country's RO serve? What are the most sought-after services?

During the past year, we assisted many Chilean companies in their corporate financing needs in the country and in other geographies, through our network of banks in Latin America and markets where our clients are also present, like Peru, Argentina, Colombia and Mexico. This was possible thanks to the reestablishment of relationships with important clients for BBVA to whom, after the end of the "non-compete" clause with Scotiabank, we returned to offer them the solutions they need.

We have also supported clients whose parent companies are located outside Chile, but which have relevant operations in the country and require the support of their global relationship banks.  

  • What would you say are the strengths of the RO with respect to the services provided?

Client needs are constantly changing and require specialization in key industry issues. At BBVA CIB, we continuously work to strengthen the team's expertise in the most important topics and sectors.

Specifically, the Project Finance business is still one of the areas where we want to continue growing and therefore to support strategic sectors in Chile, such as infrastructure, renewable energies and natural resources, where we already have specialized teams for this type of solutions.

  • How do you work your relationship with clients on a day-to-day basis? How do you approach those who do not know you?

In the Corporate & Investment Banking (CIB) segment, which we are actively developing in this new stage, we have a specialized team that knows the local market and clients very well and has a long track record and ample experience in the sector. 

The investment banking business is all about offering the best solution to our clients, in a timely manner, at competitive prices and with an innovation angle. Clients recognize the differential value of BBVA CIB's business, the diversification between products and countries combined with the proximity and knowledge of our clients and the geographies where we operate; and also the differential value of our relationship model, which seeks to assist clients and establish solid and long-term relationships. 

  • What are the area's objectives and outlook for this year? 

The Representative Office has been in operation for about a year, so we are in a positioning stage where we will continue establishing relationships and raising the profile of the BBVA CIB brand in Chile.  The goal is to grow with elements that add value for all to continue forging sustainable long-term relationships.

  • How is BBVA CIB's sustainable approach incorporated into the daily operations of the RO?

At BBVA CIB, we have a complete view of the business, where sustainability works transversally and plays a relevant role for all wholesale clients. As a Representative Office of BBVA Spain, naturally, we are fully aligned with the demanding commitments made by the bank globally.

One of our priorities is to foster the dialog around sustainability with all clients, regardless of how advanced they are in their sustainable transformation, as well as to assist them in their sustainable transition or in their Net Zero commitments, becoming their bank of choice for sustainable financing solutions.

To this end, we have teams specializing in ESG issues that help us identify points for improvement and key trends. Chile has also been a pioneer country in the Latin American region in sustainability issues; for example, it incorporated into its legislation initiatives such as the Net Zero Target for 2050, and it was the first country in America to issue a green bond in 2019 and the first country in the world to issue a Sustainability-Linked sovereign bond in 2022.