Spanish lender BBVA has purchased San Francisco-based user experience and design agency Spring Studio to accelerate its efforts in digital banking.

The acquisition, which will be completed through US-based Compass Bank, is the latest step by BBVA to lead digital banking amid the rapidly changing landscape of financial services.

As part of the deal, Spring Studio will now focus on BBVA projects in the US and South America. Following the acquisition, Spring Studio will continue to operate as an independent company.

Also, Bruce Randall, co-founder and president, and Sanjay Shamdasani, co-founder and principal UX strategist, will continue to head the 38-member team at Spring’s office in San Francisco.

BBVA said it believes that design is fundamental to the success of any business and investing in Spring Studio will make it a core competency of the bank and will attract customers who wish to do banking via a smartphone, computer or tablet.

BBVA head of digital banking Carlos Torres Vila said: "The importance of user experience and design is growing exponentially in banking and with Spring Studio we can move into fast-forward mode with our design ambitions."

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Randall said: "We are going to be part of the most progressive and ambitious financial institution, delivering the next generation of digital banking products and services that will help people be smarter about their money."