Yesterday, the Governor of the Central Bank of Argentina highlighted that “the re inauguration of the Banco Ciudad Headquarters represents the concepts of novelty, transparency, respect for the old-established, and hard work, all symbols of the Argentina we all want to dwell in”.
The full speech follows:
Thank you President of Banco Ciudad, Javier Ortiz, for inviting me to this inauguration. Thank you Head of Government of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, for having brought us together into this project many years ago, the results of which are achieved today. I will not take long. Firstly, I would like to thank the members of the team for their work, and then discuss the four symbols that, in my view, represent the fruits of the efforts that have led to today’s inauguration.
My acknowledgement is for the team that has achieved this objective because sometimes one, from a head position, may have an idea and say, “let us go this way”. I mean it is “easier said than done”. As a matter of fact projects must get off the ground. And here there was a team that has achieved the aim; I gratefully thank the work team in particular. They are like anonymous heroes of this administration who are not always visible, whose names are not read on plaques; however, they are the real doers of all this. So of course, they all deserve my recognition.
Now let us go over the four symbols I have already mentioned. The first one is linked to the future. I would like to invite you to think about the appearance of this building for a while. The design of this branch is closely comparable to today’s architecture. This branch DOES belong to the present. However, it is 50 years old. How surprising it is to find a 50-year-old branch with a modern structure. It indeed represents modern times! But not only this branch but its desks were designed 50 years ago. Curiously, desks were designed drawerless because banks should operate on a paperless fashion. In 2008, when we summoned the same work team (as if we asked the Beatles to play again), we told them: “50 years ago you bore a paperless branch in mind. This took us 50 years but now we do have a paperless bank. Now we have to modernize this branch to achieve what you foresaw 50 years before. How impressive, interesting and amazing this is!
The second symbol I would like to highlight is transparency. Look around and discover the meaning of transparency in this room. Transparency is a rather exotic concept for 50 years ago the vault could not be seen from where we are standing today. The architects of this building drew up plans for transparency, bearing in mind that money should be shown. So the vault was to be seen from the street. This had never been tried in the world. The vault was fluorescent orange and had a cool design. I hasten to apologize to the architects for my interpretation if wrong. That transparency means trust, truth, and closeness. All these notions are imbedded in the architectural construction. At present, the vault is deactivated owing to the fact that electronic transactions have greatly replaced cash, but the concept of transparency remains more powerful than ever. Both Horacio, in the city of Buenos Aires, and Mauricio Macri, in the national government, consider transparency as a fundamental issue.
The third symbol to point out is the architecture of the 1960s. Here there was no strategic decision to take; only restoration counted. While many projects had been developed in Banco Ciudad, ours was the only one which respected the architecture of the 60s. When we set up this project, we told the architects we wanted to preserve the spirit of the 1960s. We felt deep respect for the architectural work already carried out. I believe that was the reason why the works were not done before. A sense of respect also tells us something about a society that does not seek to refurbish but to vouch for what has been done in the past; a society that may grasp the real value of things. Honestly, sometimes people do not understand the importance of preserving the architecture of the 1960s. However, respect for one’s history and for the foresight of other times is a key aspect of our creed, and as such it laid the foundations of our project.
Summarizing, to be honest there was a time in Argentina when everything was mended. While at the beginning the branch responded to the concept of transparency, later on it went through countless repair patches. This sometimes happened on the grounds of matters of operative concern, and sometimes due to regulatory reasons, for instance, when the Central Bank did not allow banks to keep money visible to people. Anyway, the challenge is to do things seriously so that they last 20 or 30 years. That is, we expect to do away with repair patches, go back to fundamental things and work seriously.
In short, the symbols we have discussed are future, transparency, respect, and hard work. They all stand for the country we would like to dwell in. This building is thus imbued with the spirit of these symbols. All this explains the deep and singular joy we all feel today; in particular, you, who will enjoy this branch every day.
The Governor of the BCRA, Federico Sturzenegger, spoke at the re inauguration act of the Banco Ciudad Headquarters.
August 18th, 2016