Pandemic posts real opportunity to “Tech Up Pilipinas” one company at a time


The COVID-19 pandemic helped speed up the digital adoption of not only the businesses, but also of individuals. If there’s one positive thing brought about by our current situation, it is the opportunity to leverage on the accelerated rate of digital transformation especially in financial technologies. 

Left with no choice during the lockdown, most businesses turned their brick and mortar stores into online ones, people stayed indoors and used online banking and e-wallets to pay for bills, groceries, and even transfer funds with one another. Indeed, this rate of adoption has changed our financial ecosystem. 

“There’s a real opportunity to tech up Pilipinas, one company and one individual at a time. Even more important is that national and local government will also tech up so people are more engaged. The momentum is there so let’s take up the opportunity to be a sustainable inclusive and world class competitive inclusive economy,” share UnionBank Vice Chairman Justo A Ortiz in “Brand Digital Pilipinas: The New People’s Revolution” discussion at the Singapore Fintech Festival. 

Union Bank of the Philippines is at the forefront of innovation in financial services in the Philippines. In the event, Ortiz shared how UnionBank successfully transitioned from a medium-sized bank a decade ago to one of Asia’s best digital banks today. Their transformation was anchored on customer centricity rather than product centricity. Its process was founded on five pillars: culture and values, people and organization, changed strategy, data science, and collaboration. 

“The end game is not about digital transformation, it’s really about total transformation and that’s the challenge - that we needed to pivot, to iterate, to learn as we go along the way,” said Ortiz. 

He also shared that the Bank has a few collaborations with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). It includes the API Exchange (APIX) which allows fintechs across asia going to a central platform which allows them to connect one another. It is a blockchain cross border remittance that enables users to send money from Singapore all the way to Cantilan, Surigao del Sur. The money went through an i2i network with 125 partner rural banks.There is also an SME platform where SMEs can join an integrated hub and immediately explore both supply and market side. UnionBank is also in discussions with the BIR about joining a network which is one of the options of the BIR to digitize invoicing and receiving. 

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