UBX, the technology innovation and investment arm of UnionBank, is building “invisible banking platforms” for digitally and financially underserved communities in the Philippines.
Invisible banking is one of the services embedded into a plethora of other digital services businesses and consumers use.
“In a way, digital platforms have become the main street of today… We found gaps in the market. We found digitally and financially underserved communities in the Philippines for which we felt that we too, could be a platform built up,” UBX Philippines President and CEO John Januszczak said in a virtual conference.
UBX has created an online credit marketplace for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) companies called “SeekCap” that “drives over 60% of the economy yet have historically received less than 10% of credit provided by banks.”
SeekCap is powered by an embeddable lending platform. It is a digital end to end lending experience that connects multiple lenders to SMEs through platforms they use every day such as Lazada and accounting systems.
“Today, we already have over half of billion in application volumes for this platform. Since the pandemic started, application volumes are up over 300% and I don’t think this is surprising. Obviously, MSMEs have been perhaps more acutely affected than larger businesses by the pandemic,” Januszczak said.
Besides developing technology, the UBX invested in the innovation of others through its venture capital funds such as XLog, a digital logistics platform, and AI technology that leverages the vast amounts of data digital platforms are generating.
“UBX bridges gaps in digital capabilities through its technology services team to help businesses integrate embeddable financial services directly into their systems,” he said.
The UnionBank’s tech investor also introduced an embeddable payments platform called “BUX” that accepts all methods of payment and integrates into platforms used by MSMEs for selling online: Facebook, Viber, and more comprehensive e-commerce platforms like Prestashop, Woocommerce, and soon Shopify. It has over 80,000 sellers signed-up.
Free e-commerce platform
UBX is also offering its free e-commerce platform, Sentro.
“Everyone from casual sellers to mid-tier businesses can create an online web store with built-in inventory management, order tracking, shopping cart, BUX for payments, and courier services such as Mr. Speedy. MSMEs can start selling online in a matter of minutes,” he said.
“We may not realize it but invisible banking transactions are now taking place around us… They offer us a glimpse into a future where banking is invisible. A future of unprecedented connectivity, seamlessness, and convenience,” said James Ileto, head of public relations of UnionBank Philippines.