#Call4.0Leaders | Mustafa Tiftikcioglu, CEO Garanti BBVA: For the banking system, technology is increasingly important

Mihai-Alexandru Cristea 19/10/2022 | 12:00

In another #Call4.0Leaders interview, Business Review sat down with Mustafa Tiftikcioglu, CEO of Garanti BBVA, to talk about the company’s approach towards the four main trends of the new reality: resiliency and sustainability, the human-machine balance, organizational agility, and Co-opetition.


  1. What projects have you carried out over the past year to make your company’s operations more sustainable and resilient?

The topic of sustainability is gaining more and more importance globally, as well as in Romania. And this is very good, as sustainability is no longer an option but an imperative.

Therefore, sustainability is one of Garanti BBVA`s five strategic priorities, in line with our assumed role of a significant contributor to inclusive, environmental care, economic, and social development. As a bank, we can act as a financier for a greener economy, but also share our knowledge, foster cooperation with external stakeholders, and use our influence in society to increase awareness and achieve results in promoting sustainable development.

Therefore, to become more sustainable, we have taken a few measures at the company level, including selective collection and efficient electricity use. Moreover, we have developed our offer by adding financial products that contribute to protecting the environment, such as Casa Eco, a green loan granted to individuals for acquiring green residential units certified as such by Romania Green Building Council.

We are also applying a hybrid work model, which contributes to reducing the carbon footprint of our employees as they don’t have to travel to work every day.

Further on, our organization will continue to mobilize its human and intellectual capitals along with financial capital to support responsible and sustainable development, one of our strategic goals.

I strongly believe that we all have a moral obligation to migrate to sustainable choices,that help preserve the environment for the next generations.

  1. How can we find the right balance between intelligent machines and human intelligence in the new business reality of accelerated automation and digitalization?

Indeed, we live in an era of a blended workforce, where intelligent machines and humans combine to accelerate business success. Still, we must find that balance to deliver the best products and experiences to our customers.

Now that we have increasingly capable robots and artificial intelligence (AI) systems – capable of taking on tasks that were previously the sole domain of humans – it’s easier than ever for organizations to leverage intelligent machines.

As for the banking system, technology is increasingly important as well, especially in the context in which, in recent years, more and more customers are choosing digital and easy-to-access solutions. Also, the pandemic accelerated the rush to digital.

Even so, I believe that the importance of the human factor in a bank will not decrease, as customers still want to have someone to talk to about the challenges they encounter, to listen to the ideas of others, and to understand them. And a true team of professionals has not only knowledge, skills, energy, and creativity, but also humanity and empathy, and can give clients the feeling that they are in good hands.

This type of consultancy cannot be provided by robots, but only by dedicated and empathetic employees. Therefore, the human touch will remain critical to building trust.

  1. Are flatter, more agile structures better equipped to succeed in the new reality than their more traditional and rigid counterparts? How would you describe your organization in this regard?

In this day and age it is very important for decision makers in any company to quickly access critical information in a timely manner. Therefore, a lean and collaborative business model is crucial to avoid bottle necks and silo working. Furthermore, it fosters innovation and constructive debate.  While the banking sector can sometimes be seen as stiff due to the number of rules and regulations we follow, I feel that Garanti BBVA fosters a very constructive across team collaboration among different departments. This allows us to agile in our processes and deploy solutions in a very timely manner

  1. Is the business world evolving from a competition mindset to a co-opetition one? How integrated is your company in this regard and what can you tell us about the partnerships you carried out with other organizations?

As defined, co-opetition is a business strategy with competitors entering into collaborative partnerships.

We, in Garanti BBVA, look at this concept with interest, especially as researchers emphasize several benefits resulting from co-opetition, like the stimulation of innovations of partners, development of the technology, obtaining complementary resources, entering new markets, and creating new products.

Moreover, we have witnessed some extraordinary developments resulting from coopetition, especially in the technology industry and healthcare, so we do not exclude this opportunity in the future. After all, any option that helps us to diversify our products and services, to better meet the needs of customers, is worth considering.

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Mihai-Alexandru Cristea | 21/12/2023 | 14:13
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