As an independent bank, we are able to make decisions quickly. Our experienced management team is available to personally discuss your banking requirements. At CompassBank, we have a clear understanding of the financial services businesses and professionals in the Caribbean region need to expand and be successful, and we are committed to providing you with an array of banking products and services for exactly that purpose.
In late 2012, BBVA Compass debuted its new core technology platform. The more than $360 million project made the bank one of the first financial institutions in the U.S. to implement real-time processing and also allowed BBVA Compass to become the first major bank to open its platform to digital innovators such as Simple.
When Celent, a financial technology analyst firm, recognized BBVA Compass as its Model Bank of the Year in 2013, it noted the core system as the largest U.S. bank transformation in the ten years leading up to the technology milestone.
The bank has been similarly focused on honing its skills and capabilities to adapt to the demands of the digital age, building its workforce to include user experience (UX) designers, software developers and engineers.
The bank continues to develop its skill set in other important areas that will allow it to give clients a more personalized banking experience and additional control over their own financial journey. The use of Big Data is one such area. By using Big Data, BBVA Compass is better able to understand its customers, providing them with the products and services they need at each stage of their financial journey.
The bank is also exploring how it can most effectively use distributed ledger technology, also known as blockchain. BBVA is one of the founding members of R3 CEV, a consortium for financial innovation whose member companies have worked together to develop and research the use of this technology in financial services.
BBVA and BBVA Compass believe that collaborating with digital disruptors, or fintechs, is vital to advancing their own digital transformation. The bank actively supports the fintech ecosystem to build new, better experiences for customers.
For similar reasons, the bank also invests in startups. BBVA is the sole investor in venture capital firm Propel, which is focused on early- to late-stage investment opportunities at the intersection of technology and finance. Collaborating with Propel captures BBVA's approach to innovation: It is partnering with a business that is investing in the best fintech startups regardless of competitive interest.
The new core system BBVA Compass completed in 2013 also opened new business streams for the bank, one of them being the open platform. Instead of taking its real-time advantage and closing in to protect it, BBVA Compass has opened the platform to digital innovators. The possibilities for learning and improving the customer experience with open platform are virtually limitless.
BBVA and BBVA Compass are powering the digital transformation of the banking industry on the strength of their digital products and services. Each product and service the bank develops keeps the customer in mind, ensuring that the bank is delivering a needed solution for their financial needs.
Over the past several years, the bank has focused on delivering its products through digital means in an effort to provide customers with the quick and convenient solutions they need to stay in control of their financial journey. In addition to the ability to open all type of deposit accounts, debit cards and prepaid cards online, BBVA Compass recently began offering pre-approved applicants online account origination for both its premiere consumer loan, Signature Express, which features potential same-day closing and funding, and credit cards. Both of these products are slated to become fully available digitally to the open market late this year.
The bank also features an array of digital account solutions, including on-demand remote banking, its award-winning mobile app and financial monitoring app BBVA Wallet. In early 2017, BBVA Compass Insurance Agency, an affiliate of BBVA Compass, partnered with Boise-based Covr Financial Technologies, a digital personal insurance platform, to offer insurance seekers direct control over the insurance-buying process.
These changes have also meant the bank has had to think differently about how it attracts and hires technology talent. It has meant fostering agility and nurturing a startup mentality with error tolerance, an entrepreneurial spirit, and allocating resources to innovation.
Compass Bank (originally the Central Bank and Trust Company) was a publicly-held banking corporation founded in Birmingham in 1964. The company was acquired by the Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) in 2007 and operated as an independent division, known as BBVA Compass. BBVA's US operations were sold to PNC Bank of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2020.
The Central Bank and Trust Company was incorporated on December 31, 1963 by Frank Hardy, Wendell Taylor, Schuyler Baker, Stewart Welch, and John Israel with $1.226 million in capital. Other founding directors included Harry Brock Jr, Hugh Daniel, and Frank L. Hardy. The bank opened for business on March 2, 1964. Soon later, Wally Nall, John Evins, Inos Heard, and Tom Jernigan joined the board.
In 1967 the company moved into a new 15-story new headquarters building on 20th Street South. By the following year, aggressive marketing and creative services had propelled the state-chartered bank's assets to $82 million, or 7% of the Birmingham market. The next year, Central made an unprecedented hostile takeover bid for Decatur's State National Bank, the only bank that could open branches across county lines. Central's bid was supported by Hugh Agricola and other shareholders of the First National Bank of Gadsden, which had been bought by State National. It was financed by a $10 million line of credit from the Bank of Virginia, which was pioneering its own statewide banking company. By July, Central was able to assemble a voting trust representing about a third of State National's shares in advance of a public offering of $70 per share. The City National Bank of Birmingham, which had also been planning a merger, countered with $80 per share. Central instructed their brokers to buy as many shares as they could up to $85 and ended with enough shares to control State National's board.
In response, Alabama's other major banks filed several court actions in an attempt to block the merger. One action, brought in Federal Court, did succeed with blocking it, on the technicality that Alabama's banking laws, under which the state-chartered bank operated, were incompatible on a few points with Federal banking laws that governed the national banks in the area of mergers. While this finding was being appealed, banking lobbyists were pushing for new legislation that would prevent the merged company from being able to operate in more than one county. Brock and Central Bank's other officers personally lobbied against the bill, and though it would have passed easily if brought to a vote, was killed off in committee.
The result of the failed bill was that statewide bank holding companies were recognized as a legal possibility for the first time, and the other major banks moved quickly to organize while Central was waiting for a decision on their appeal. Another group, led by Frank Plummer, Norman Pless, and Bob Lowery even stole Brock's intended name for the holding company, First Alabama Bancshares. Central did win their appeal and formed the Central and State National Corporation, which was soon renamed Central Bancshares of the South. The company moved into the new 20-story Daniel Building at 15 20th Street South in midtown in 1970.
In 1981 Central and a coalition of other bank holding companies successfully lobbied for the Bank Merger Act, allowing statewide bank branching under a single banking company. For the next two years, the combined holdings of Central Bank of the South were the largest single bank in Alabama.
Their first acquisition out of state was the failing First National Bank of Crosby, Texas in February 1987. Central was the first out-of-state bank to operate in Texas, and they already had their foothold in Harris County, where Houston is located. After they established another group in the Dallas area, they created a new holding company, Compass Bancshares of Texas, with headquarters in Houston. As other banks were acquired in Texas, Florida and New Mexico, the Compass name was applied to the entire corporation.
D. Paul Jones took over the CEO position from Brock in 1991. Rumors of sales of Compass to larger banks swirled through the 1990s, with Jones actually blocking a sale to First Union which was being engineered by his predecessor.
On February 16, 2007, Compass announced that it would be acquired for $9.6 billion ($71.82 per share) by the Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, Spain's second-largest bank. The new owners kept Compass Bank's management in place as an independent US subsidiary, rebranded as BBVA Compass.
By 2019 the bank had grown to hold $91 billion in assets with 672 full-service banking offices in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, and Texas. The division ranked as one of the United States' 30 largest banks and appeared on the S&P 500 Index and the Dow Jones Select Dividend Index.
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