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Philippines' best digital bank 2019: UnionBank


Edwin R Bautista, President and CEO, UnionBank.jpg
Edwin Bautista, UnionBank

Union Bank of the Philippines has done it again. The ninth-largest bank in terms of assets, Manila-based UnionBank has led the charge into digital banking.

Its rivals like to say that UnionBank, led by chief executive and president Edwin Bautista, is more talk than action, but the bank can justifiably point to a long list of innovations, eclipsing all other institutions in the country. UnionBank created the first Selfie Banking in Asia that uses facial recognition technology. It wheeled out the Philippines’ first fully digital, paperless bank branch, then it launched the country’s first banking application, which allows clients to bank from the comfort of their own home or office.

During 2018, the bank continued to blaze a trail with the launch of Project i2i, a clearing system that uses blockchain technology to connect rural banks and streamline processes such as interbank funds transfer, financial and accounting reports and remittances.

Another product that has realized value is bills payment. Not so long ago, it could take as long as 15 working days to process a payment. UnionBank has slashed the time to one day. Since the start of 2018, the bank says this has translated into cost savings of more than P17 million ($340,000).

Close to 80% of all UnionBank’s interactions with customers are now routed through digital channels. It’s all part of the bank’s strategy for financial inclusion or, in the words of Bautista, making sure that “no one gets left behind”.

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