BBVA Launches ‘BBVA Friends & Family’: Crowdfunding with a Twist

About a week ago, my friend Jose Antonio Gallego – Social Media Manager at BBVA, a regular on Visible Banking, informed me of today’s official launch of BBVA’s latest social media project ‘BBVA Friends & Family‘. I had the opportunity to record a video interview with Jose Antonio and his colleague Carlos Kuchkovsky – Head of Mobile Added Value Service who have both been actively involved on that project. BBVA-FriendsAndFamily-HomePage
Currently, the platform enables BBVA customers (personal banking) to set up a goal or a cause and invite their friends and family to contribute. The goals could be anything from paying a restaurant bill to contributing to a community project. Unsurprisingly, the bank has already started to build its social media presence with dedicated facebook page and apptwitter account and a blog.

From Social Marketing to Social Commerce: P2P Lending, Crowdfunding, Social Saving
It is fair to say that banks would like to find a way to tap into the more and more popular P2P / crowdfunding space whose appetite from the market has been validated over the last five years with active online communities such as Prosper, Lending Club, Kiva in the US, and Zopa or more recently friendsclear in Europe. Startups like Smartypig have done a great job changing people’s behaviour and encouraging people to stay focus and save to achieve their goals, and occasionally fulfil their dreams.

P2P Lending: a Validated Market Most of the companies specialized in P2P lending (social lending) focus on individuals, micro entrepreneurs and small businesses. Basically when the country they are in allows it, they usually aim to bypass the bank to offer better returns to lenders, an opportunity to get a loan to struggling individuals or entrepreneurs, and add a human element to the financial transaction. They also fully leverage the power of the crowd to the extent that several members can contribute to the same goal and help the same individual or company. Hence, very few of those new players have a strong tie with a financial institution, except for friendsclear in France which is backed by the innovative Credit Agricole Pyrenees Gascogne, and of course Smartypig whose model is based on putting in place a strong strategic partnership with one key financial institution in specific countries or parts of the world.

If you’d like to find more about P2P lending directly from some of the most creative and passionate entrepreneurs around, I strongly invite you to watch my interviews with:
Doug Dolton, former Global CEO at Zopa
Chris Larsen, Founder & CEO at
Patrick Gannon, SVP Lending at LendingClub
Matt Flannery, co-Founder & CEO at
Jean-Christophe Capelli, co-Founder & CEO at Friendsclear

My Take
So, where is the opportunity for banks? Just to be perceived as innovative? Simply contribute to change your brand perception or raise your profile in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) space? In that category we could talk about Plan Big launched by Bendigo and Adelaide bank in Australia or more recently Kiss Kiss Bank Bank sponsored by La Banque Postale in France. No, BBVA adopted a more innovative approach. They found a good way to contribute to all the objectives mentioned above plus provide a value added service to their customers and REWARD them for banking with BBVA. You can ask your friends and family to finance your projects in an easyand secure way. I love the fact that the bank doesn’t know yet what to expect from this initiative. They are eager to start collecting the initial feedback from their customers (including their ‘customer-employees’) and identify some kind of pattern in terms of customer behaviour and adoption. Just like social media as a whole, it is a ‘live and learn’ exercise.

BBVACompass-FacebookOver the last three years, the global spanish banking group has established itself as one of the most engaging financial institutions online. The social media and the innovation teams launched many innovative social media projects such as Open Talent, ‘Tu Cuentas’ (PFM) or Actibva in Spain, but their international banks have been busy too with the likes of BBVA Compass in the US and their strategic alliance with Smartypig and their active promotion of their facebook presence… In addition to my previous remarks, I’m curious to find out what BBVA’s ambition and next steps are for ‘Friends and Family‘. Not only the English name makes you wonder how quickly they’ll roll out the service outside Spain, but I believe they could have a good go at taking on the ‘cajas’ – the spanish saving banks – on their own turf, supporting social projects… Caja Navarra – now part of Banca Civica – arguably the most transparent bank in the world with its ‘Civic Banking‘ concept, has been a champion of causes and projects for a long time now. A few years ago, they launched a community of blogs to give a voice to those charities and associations, and they also provide some kind of P2P lending facility whereby clients can choose what projects their money will help finance ‘Tú eliges: tú decides’ / ‘You choose, you decide’. Caja Madrid – now part of Bankia – is one of the most active financial institutions in the social space with their ‘Obra Social’ / ‘Action Social’ programme. I invite you to watch the video I shot with Jose Antonio Ritore – Online Marketing Manager at Obra Social Caja Madrid, a couple of weeks ago in London. Interview with Jose Antonio Gallegoand Carlos Kuchkovsky I invite you to watch my video interview with the team. Please note that due to a technical fault, I had to record a video footage of the original skype conversation (hence the not-so-great quality). Better to publish a poorer-quality video, than no video… * What is ‘BBVA Friends & Family’ (00:15) * Application(s): from paying a restaurant bill to contributing to a birthday present or organizing a wedding… (01:29) * Value added service to BBVA’s existing customers exclusively (03:14) * Leveraging social media to help spread the word (04:12) * An iphone application is on its way (05:43) * Future integration to BBVA’s online banking? (06:16) * No clear success criteria yet… Live and learn! (07:00) * An English name… International strategy (08:52) * BBVA Compass in the US (09:48) * How important is social media to BBVA? (10:28) “Fulfill your dream or discover how to help others” Please find below the English translation of the first blog post talking us through the initiative. Friends and Family is a project of BBVA Spain which is a response to the major needs of today’s “information society” such as interactivity, simplicity, speed and social relations. Friends and Family The platform is hosted in the cloud computing or cloud computing, promoting once again the values ​​that represents the area of ​​Innovation and Technology BBVA, with the ultimate goal of providing greater volume and quality service to our customers . Friends and Family is a tool that allows you to associate an account BBVA to achieve a goal in the real world and facilitates their dissemination by social networks, blogs or e-mail to maximize the communication potential of these channels. In short, a site where users can receive contributions or transfers from third parties for or challenges they create. The value added component to the user decides to create a cause is to centralize in a single virtual space, all information related to the process definition, dissemination, management and collection within a safe and reliable as that of our Bank. In addition, Friends and Family has developed a simple language, easy and intuitive that anyone can use without having advanced knowledge of Internet. The proof is the following video tutorial that we hope will be of help.” Working Together We at Visible Banking would be delighted to help you and your team better UNDERSTAND and LEVERAGE social media in a strategic yet pragmatic way. So please don’t hesitate to call me, send me an email or DM me (@Visible_Banking) to book a meeting and talk about twitterfacebookcrowdsourcingcustomer reviews, social media & social commerce in banking, financial services and insurance.

What do you think?

Written by Christophe Langlois

Based in London for almost a decade, Christophe is an entertaining fintech marketing keynote speaker and a trusted advisor to the global financial services industry on the topics of digital marketing, innovation and B2B social media.

Christophe has contributed to over 140 events in 18 countries.

Currently, Christophe is advising a number of fintech startups on marketing and growth hacking and he is the Chief Marketing Officer of The Fintech Power 50, an exclusive annual programme helping fintech scale-ups to accelerate their growth globally.

Christophe's views on are his own.

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