BPI Bank of the Philippine Islands

BPI ramps up IT budget by 50% to boost digitalization

The Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) is ramping up its digitalization efforts by pouring investments into its IT infrastructure and business solutions. At its Annual Stockholders Meeting, the 171-year-old bank said it will raise IT spending by 50% or P13.5 billion in 2022.

According to Ramon Jocson, EVP and COO, BPI, 5% of the IT budget will be spent on cybersecurity.

“You may deem it small but it’s because we made earlier investments in 2015,” Jocson explained. “In 2015, we hardly had any spent on cybersecurity, but in 2015 and 2016 we built our Cybersecurity Operations Center. So those are some costs already. Moving forward what we’ve been spending on are more incremental investments.”

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Aside from cybersecurity, BPI will also be spending on threat intelligence analytics to provide them with more visibility of any form of cyberattack activities.

Fintech, neobanks

In 2021, BPI spent nearly P9 billion or about 9% of total revenue for the year on technology, including new digital initiatives such as building and improving customer engagement platforms and onboarding new partners in its open banking business, the bank said in a statement.

With fintech and neobanks tapping on the unbanked and underbanked sector, BPI as a legacy bank is also ramping up initiatives to introduce more digital products to serve not only businesses but individual clients as well.

“The healthy competition coming from fintechs and new banks together with the incumbent banks will definitely result in a very interesting industry and more developments in the coming years. And our bank is ready for that,” said Jose Teodoro Limcaoco, president and CEO, BPI.

As of 2021, 4.9 million of BPI’s 8.46 million client base were enrolled in digital channels. Of the number, 3.24 million were active, up 20% from the previous year. BPI also has a growing list of over 80 API partners covering nearly 800 products and services, with over 100 million transactions in 2021, a 75% growth from the previous year.

β€œIn 2021, we accelerated our goal to transform our Bank for the future while executing and growing through the pandemic,” Limcaoco said.

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