Spain’s BBVA buys online bank Simple for $117 million

BBVAheadquartersBilbaoBanco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), the second largest banking group of Spain, has agreed to buy American online banking company Simple for $117 million in an all-cash deal. Portland, US-based bank will contribute to and support BBVA’s strategy to bring state-of-the-art technologies and tools to their global operations.

Simple is a banking platform where the account-holders can carry out all banking transactions except those made in traditional bank offices and branches. It also provides customers with apps on both iOS and Android, that help them to keep track of their accounts and save more.

Currently operational only in the US licensed under country’s federal legislation, the four year old digital bank has shown incredible growth, increasing its user number by almost 300 percent to 100,000 in 2013. The transactions it processed in 2013 has reached $1.7 billion in the same period.

“The Simple customer experience is unmatched in the world of digital banking” said Francisco González, chairman of BBVA. He added that Simple will strengthen BBVA’s global digital transformation while BBVA will help Simple to maximize its huge growth potential”. Apart from homeland Spain, BBVA is also strong in Latin America and offers comprehensive expertise to its customers in international banking in which Simple lacks knowledge.

According to the press release by BBVA, Simple will keep its brand after the acquisition and continue operating independently. Joshua Reich, co-founder and CEO, and Shamir Karkal, co-founder and CFO, will continue steering Simple and its team of 92 employees.

BBVA closed the purchase through BBVA Compass Bancshares, Inc., its U.S. subsidiary, which in the future will help Simple to develop new products and services. With the support of the BBVA Group, Simple will expand beyond the United States and enter new markets.

Through its venture capital division BBVA Ventures, Spanish banking group BBVA is actively investing in fintech startups that include SumUp, Radius, Freemonee, and in funds set up with similar purposes, which inlude Ribbit Capital and 500 Startups.

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