Q&A With CaixaBank’s General Manager Juan Alcaraz

Juan Alcaraz, general manager of CaixaBank, winner of World’s Best Consumer Bank, talks about deep customer profiling, technology benefits, and responsible stewardship.

Global Finance: How does CaixaBank organize its consumer banking and what sets the bank apart from peers?

Juan Alcaraz: Since 2007, CaixaBank has on a long-term journey to focus its business around key customer segments in order to better meet their needs. This journey started with a deep analysis of our main customer groups and their specific needs, focusing later on creating differentiated value propositions, with superior customer experience at the heart of each segment.

Through this strategy, CaixaBank is more than just a bank. For example, for millennials, CaixaBank launched ImaginBank, the first mobile-only bank in Spain and one of the best in the world. For the senior client segment, CaixaBank has created the Club Ahora (Now Club), providing them with a community to meet and socialize; for the largest segment, families, CaixaBank has created Family, a complete value proposition for all members of the household; for non-resident clients with assets in Spain we have created Hola Bank, with its own branches with staff who can speak the language of our customers and take care of their needs regardless of where they are.

In summary, what sets CaixaBank apart from its competitors is its ability to understand and fulfill the needs of each customer group.

GF: How do you see the market for consumer banking evolving and what will be the main challenges in the future?

Alcaraz: Customers are increasingly more demanding. What used to be exceptional is rapidly becoming common or the norm. In that sense, the challenge for banks in the near future is to keep up with the changes, adapting faster and better to consumers’ expectations and needs.

For this reason, CaixaBank has just created neX, our Global Customer Experience Lab, with over 1,000 marketing and customer experience experts working together with the rest of the bank, leveraging technological agility to connect departments more efficiently. As Spain’s main technology and industry hub, Barcelona is a great place to launch the next generation of consumer banking, and CaixaBank is determined to remain at the front of the pack.

GF: What keeps you up at night? What are the main risks to your business in Spain and in the rest of the euro area?

Alcaraz: Combining innovation, new technologies and compliance is always a challenge. The consumer banking industry is highly regulated, and regulators have been increasing their control of the industry to protect both community and consumer interests.

Compliance and respect for the community have always part of CaixaBank’s DNA. Since its creation in 1904, CaixaBank has been an institution with a strong sense of corporate responsibility, complying with bylaws that state that a proportion of the bank’s profits should be shared with the wider society. In 2018, for example, “La Caixa,” [an affiliated private charitable foundation] that is the bank’s main shareholder, will give 520 million euros back to the community through its charitable programs, which will benefit over 11 million people in the world.