If you’re of a certain age and plugged into social media, a certain milestone may not have escaped your notice during November: the 21st anniversary of the death of Freddie Mercury. A cracking excuse to get the old vinyls out an give them a spin .. or browse over to YouTube, whichever takes your fancy .. all the way from the original Queen album through to Made In Heaven.
Made In Heaven. A practically unique album, in that it was released posthumously with much of the engineering work also being done after Freddie’s death. You may have realised I’m something of a fan (“nut” has also been used) and I still have a little difficulty listening to the album.
Something I don’t have difficulty with though is the Spanish banking group Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, or BBVA for short. Yes I know it’s a tenuous link but when I came across their CSR website, Banca Para Todas (Banking for Everyone), I really was mightily impressed by it. It just so happens that I’m writing about it with Freddie very much in my thoughts… so there you go :)
The first thing to say about BBVA’s Banca Para Todas website is that it one of the cleanest and most appealing I’ve ever seen. A white background with a the sparing use of six shades of blue used in the bank’s corporate logo to pick out menus, tags etc.
A two column layout gives you their latest blog posts followed by latest news in one column, while the other one has social media links, a slider to other associated areas of the banking group, latest comments on the posts and various common navigation tools (search, tags etc).
In addition the footer contains accessibility features. These are vital because screen readers for the visually impaired rely heavily on the standards being maintained. So, you can query every Banca Para Todas page’s accessibility plus there’s a badge giving the site AA rating from euracert eAccessibility (something I’ll have to investigate another time).
Finally, across the header there are two menus. The main one allows full page navigation to major content groups such as posts, news, videos and documents, while the secondary one provides navigation to the various strategic areas the bank concentrates upon, including financial inclusion, financial literacy, and community involvement.
It’s one of the easiest-on-the-eye sites I’ve ever seen and also one of the very few which, from the get go, I knew where to find what I wanted to find without having to hunt around. It’s no wonder then that Lundquist ranked it eighth (PDF) in its pan-European CSR website rankings this year.
However, as well a well thought out website I’m also attracted to the Bank’s overall approach to responsible banking. It just seems to be honest and genuine, a far cry from other institutions which have a published policy and maybe a few metrics.
For example, at the time of writing the most recent blog post is about Emilio Martín-More’s attendance at Foretica’s fourth CSR Marketplace in Madrid. This sounds like a wonderful event: a whole plethora of companies set up market stalls and tried to sell their CSR wares to the event’s judges. Then prizes are awarded: for example La Caixa won the social impact category for renting around 3,000 homes it owns at a knockdown price to those in hardship. Now, how many other companies would blow the trumpet of a rival on their blog pages?
Another bit of engagement I like is the bank’s sponsorship of Ruta Quetzal. BBVA isn’t just a Spanish bank but it also has a significant presence throughout North and South America. Ruta Quetzal provides the opportunity for hundreds of teenagers from both Iberian and Ibero-American backgrounds to go on cultural tours around the world.
Other examples include presentation of video about the bank’s internal education facility being awarded LEED gold certification talking about Plato’s and Aristotle’s academies in ancient Greece (a piece about education being, er, educational!) and Suma, BBVA’s own crowdfunding platform. That’s right: a bank promoting crowdfunding.
As you dig deeper and wider into BBVA’s activities you just can’t help but continue to be impressed. The presentation is almost flawless, the language relaxed and the whole just seems almost effortless. Not only is this about Banking for Everyone, but it is also a heavenly dream to engage with.
Picture Credit: Freddie Mercury by Chicago Eye / CC BY.
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