Francisco González, the chairman of
BBVA, Spain’s second-largest bank by assets, has said that banks
must switch to new retail business models combining in-branch
assistance with virtual platforms if they are to emerge from the
financial crisis as industry leaders.

González, speaking at a conference in Spain,
said that “banking clients, previously rather passive, are now much
better informed and therefore more powerful. They naturally demand
better products and services at better prices, greater conveniences
and more personalised attention for their banking needs.

“Today’s clients also want companies and banks
to pay more attention to their community’s concerns and needs, and
to exemplify transparency and ethical behaviour.”

As well as meeting these requirements, banks
should also invest more in technology in order to provide value to
their customers, González said.

“Clients will no longer see conventional
banks; rather, they will interact with a large platform integrating
both the ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ worlds,” he added.

The banker also suggested that just 15 percent
of the world’s population currently has access to banking
facilities, a shortcoming which technological improvements could
also address.