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Francisco Gonzalez: "BBVA Is At The Start Of A New Cycle Of Strong Growth"

The recurring nature and strength of earnings underlie the proposal to maintain unchanged the shareholder remuneration policy for another year. The dividend will thus be €0.42 per share with the same arrangement: two interim payments in cash and two with a scrip option. "This is an excellent yield for shareholders (6% at December 31 st 2012) and considerably higher than our peer group average," he explained.

Lastly the chairman described the bank's future plans, which are based on three pillars: principles, people and innovation. "The principles have allowed us to have a firm and efficient corporate governance while fostering a culture of prudence, integrity and transparency," he said. "Sometimes this means sacrificing substantial easy profits in the short term. But it is the only way to ensure the BBVA project in the mid and long terms." This model of a 'leading bank' means that "during the crisis BBVA strengthened its position in all the countries where it operates including Spain and in the entire global industry."

Mr. Gonzalez explained that "BBVA innovates for people, based on knowledge," such as data mining and the use of intelligent algorithms to understand customers' needs. The bank is moving towards a new concept of distribution in which customers can interact wherever they are, at any time and via any channel, and receive an appropriate response in real time.

He also referred to the strategy in the various regions where the bank is present. "The crisis is a great opportunity for BBVA Spain," he declared. "We're already gaining market share. From our present position of about 12%, we want to reach 20% within a reasonable amount of time." In the United States "the new technology platform gives us a significant competitive edge" and in a few years it will make this market "one of the most important for the bank." Furthermore, "we are the leader in Mexico and in Latin America overall and we have a relevant position in China. In Turkey, Garanti is an outstanding bank and we have the possibility of increasing our investment."

BBVA's chairman next referred to two social projects that were recently announced in Spain. The first is the "I am employment" initiative with a budget of €25 million and a target of creating 10,000 jobs. The second is the "Family Protection Plan" with €32 million and whose aim is to help customers who have lost their only dwelling. They gain access to a program that will accompany them in their search for new employment and provides direct economic aid.

Mr. Gonzalez pointed out that "we have a different kind of model that is far superior to the usual ones in our industry, in terms of positioning and strategy. We have a big lead in technological transformation. Furthermore we have a first-class tightly-knit team with clear ideas and an enormous will to work."

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