With BBVA Compass announced as the new stadium naming rights partner for the Houston Dynamo's new downtown stadium, HoustonDynamo.com caught up with BBVA Compass president and CEO Manolo Sánchez to discuss the partnership between the two organizations.
HoustonDynamo.com: How did BBVA Compass become involved with the Dynamo and what made this such an attractive fit for your company?
Manolo Sánchez: BBVA Compass funded the TIRZ – the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone – a key step in launching the stadium project. The naming rights for the stadium is a case of the right opportunity at the right time. We’re a global bank, and soccer is a global game. We value teamwork, effort and fair play. And perhaps most importantly, BBVA Compass Stadium allows us a way to build a better Houston, revitalizing the city’s downtown and contributing to a local community.
HD: BBVA acquired Compass in 2007, which was one year after the Dynamo arrived in Houston. What have been your impressions of the Dynamo organization both on and off the field since they began to play here in 2006?
MS: The Dynamo have put soccer on the map in Houston, with two Major League Soccer titles, three MLS Cup appearances and an exciting brand of soccer. The team also shares the bank’s values of supporting the local community through giving back.
HD: BBVA already has a partnership with Spain’s La Liga as well as individual players abroad. Why is it important for your company to get involved with MLS, one of the fastest-growing leagues in the U.S.?
MS: Sports embodies values that are important to success on and off the field. That’s why BBVA and BBVA Compass consider itself the “bank of sports,” with title sponsorships of the NBA, La Liga and now BBVA Compass Stadium. We hold soccer especially dear because it is a game that knows no boundaries. It’s a sport for all people.
HD: How do you see the Dynamo and BBVA Compass working together to benefit the city of Houston?
MS: We’re launching a “Building a Better Houston” campaign with the Dynamo, seeking to make a difference in the neighborhoods surrounding BBVA Compass Stadium. Together, we will carry out four projects during the weeks before the stadium’s opening. These will focus on educating kids, encouraging fitness, protecting the environment and revitalizing Houston’s East End.
HD: What differentiates BBVA Compass from other banking institutions in this country?
MS: BBVA Compass is a universal bank, committed to building better financial solutions for our clients’ unique situations through an array of products and services. Our aim is to be our customers’ financial institution for life. Our services are local, but our reach is global. We are customer centric, innovative and principled.
HD: Since you were raised in Spain, did you cheer for any soccer team there? Do you have any childhood memories of soccer?
MS: Yes, and I still do. FC Barcelona is my team. In addition to being a Barca fan, I cheer for the Spanish national team. For many of us, the 2010 World Cup victory -- Spain’s first ever -- over the Netherlands was our fondest memory. Of course, the U.S. team had a memorable run, too, and I expect we’ll see more from them in the years ahead.
HD: What do you hope people will say about BBVA Compass and its partnership with the Dynamo?
MS: That together we built a better future for all Houstonians – and brought the MLS Cup back to Houston, where it belongs.
HD: What BBVA Compass community initiatives make you the most proud?
MS: We are particularly committed to financial literacy. Our Get Smart About Credit program taps BBVA Compass employees to teach high school students how to manage credit. Last fall, we taught 150 classes to more than 5,000 juniors and seniors. Our community-giving programs also include Teach for America and Communities in Schools, which improve the quality of public education, especially among the economically disadvantaged.
HD: What are your other plans for Houston?
MS: We’re building corporate offices in the Galleria. BBVA Compass Plaza will open in the first quarter of 2013, the first Galleria-area tower to be built in nearly three decades. It will centralize the bank’s operations, currently in four Houston offices.