In 2021, the Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) launched products that benefit small and medium enterprises as the pandemic brought the entrepreneurial spirit of Filipinos. UnionBank enabled businesses to seamlessly shift to digital and provide services with different solutions.
“The pandemic created this shift to digital, which we now refer to as the new digital normal,” said Henry Aguda, senior executive vice president, chief technology and operations officer, and chief transformation officer, UnionBank. “We changed the way we live, the way we travel, the way we interact with one another, and basically we’ve changed forever in terms of how we transact in the financial sector.”
Aguda said their client base may reach 10 million by the end of this year, 3 million up from the figures in 2020. The clients include individuals and institutions as the bank said there was significant user growth for UBX’s other SME services that include SeekCap, Bux, and Sentro.
This year, UnionBank launched the UnionBank SME Banking App which provides businesses with almost all the digital tools needed to run an online business. The bank also launched its wealth management educational campaigns including the NextGen Academy.
As among the six digital banks granted with license by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, UnionBank’s UnionDigital is ready to take on the digital bank space in 2022.
“Even before the pandemic, UnionBank already had this forward-looking view that digital is the way for us to move forward, and when the pandemic hit, not only did we survive, but I’m happy to say that the Bank actually thrived,” Aguda said.
“UnionBank takes a hybrid approach to the future as it continues to undergo tremendous transformation to embrace the digital future and adopt as much of a digital interface as possible,” said Arvie de Vera, co-founder and CEO of UnionDigital.
UnionDigital will take a 100% virtual approach, which will exist purely in the cloud. UnionBank built a digital banking platform that can address and embrace the emerging needs of a digital world.
UnionDigital, like the other neobanks, poses a challenge to traditional or legacy banks especially those whose digital transformation is yet to materialize. Even with issues in cybersecurity, digital financial services is gaining traction because it offers convenience to customers and companies.
UnionBank is exploring the use cases of non-fungible tokens (NFT) and what benefits it can provide to customers.