by Sanjay Shamdasani

I grew up in London, the financial center of the world, traded stocks at a young age and aspired to become an investment banker. I attended school on The Embankment in the heart of the City and went on to graduate from the London School of Economics. A career in banking was what I imagined. Yet I never went on to seek that job at a bank…at least not then.

A passion for art and design coincided with the creation of a new Internet industry and destiny took me down a very different path. My artistic interests landed me a gig designing some of the earliest websites in the UK for News International with little knowledge of the impact this new digital medium was about to have. It was not long before I travelled across the pond and, if there were ever a right time to be in the right place, it was San Francisco in the late 90’s. It’s here that I met Bruce, my business partner and closest of friends. We started our first design firm in the midst of the dotcom boom and that was the beginning of an incredible 17-year journey of friendship, good fortune, and great work.

Together at Spring Studio, we’ve shared some great times and worked with amazing clients across a range of industries with an incredibly gifted team. I am extremely grateful for that. Bruce and I also share a deep interest in financial services both as consumers and designers. Over the years, our passion and experience in this arena has afforded us the opportunity to work with many of the largest US banks, brokerage firms and financial institutions. We’ve designed a range of creative user experiences for retail banking functions, trading platforms, advisor applications and digital marketing sites.

Today, Bruce and I are proud to see Spring Studio reach another level as our team becomes a part of BBVA, and with that comes immense possibilities. We begin this thrilling new chapter in collaboration with a group of very talented individuals at a global company that embraces the new digital era. For me, being at a bank couldn’t have come at a more exciting time and with a more exciting company.

New digital innovations are truly shifting human behavior, changing perceptions and creating new mindsets of personal empowerment. They are transforming how people think about their finances and whom they turn to for guidance and their banking needs. BBVA recognizes this and is placing digital innovation at the cornerstone of a vision to build the best digital bank of the 21st century.

The competitive landscape has evolved. There are a host of non-traditional providers, including digital behemoths and etailers that are attracting customers away from the large and established financial institutions. Companies like Square have empowered millions to accept credit card payments rather than rely on cash/check payments. Robo-advisors like Wealthfront are automating aspects of the advisory business. In just a year, Chinese etailer Alibaba launched a money market fund that now has greater assets ($90 billion) and more investors ($81 million) than all but three of the US’s traditional money market fund providers.

Digital innovations are driving these changes at an extremely rapid pace. To compete, we must understand and embrace the new and evolving mindsets of our customers, put their needs first and design world-class experiences to engage and support them. That’s what we love to do and, with BBVA, we have the ability to be at the forefront of designing the banking industry of the future. We not only believe that’s going to have a hugely positive impact, we’re banking on it.