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Spain's BBVA plans to extend digital reach to more countries

The logo of BBVA bank is seen on the facade of a BBVA bank branch office in Malaga

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's BBVA is planning to extend its international digital strategy beyond Italy as it seeks to add more clients, the bank's Chief Executive Officer Onur Genc said on Tuesday.

In October of 2021, BBVA entered the consumer lending market in Italy by offering free online accounts to take advantage of a shift to digital banking in the country following an acceleration of digital services during the pandemic.

Genc said that the bank was "studying at the moment" to extend the bank's digital capabilities in the next one or two years, without identifying the market it would potentially expand into.

"We will see what comes out of this study and most likely, given the success, we will take it to other countries," Genc told a financial event.

In Italy, it has acquired more than 160,000 new customers through online channels in 2022 and expects to add 200,000 clients this year in this market.

BBVA has invested heavily in digital banking services and has been ahead of many European peers to complement its physical presence in areas of growth abroad like Mexico or South America, which is now being hit by worsening economic conditions and pressure from higher interest rates.

(Reporting by Jesús Aguado, editing by David Evans)