“The pandemic created this shift to digital, which we now refer to as the “new digital normal”. 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,” thus said UnionBank Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Technology and Operations Officer, and Chief Transformation Officer Henry Aguda during the recent media roundtable series E-TalkTales which summarized the bank’s performance for the year.
In the virtual event, Aguda recalled how UnionBank’s digital transformation journey has enabled it to brave 2020 and the equally challenging 2021. “When the pandemic hit, not only did we survive, but I’m happy to say that the Bank actually thrived,” he said.
He pointed out the bank’s top 10 most notable achievements in 2021. These include being the only publicly listed Philippine bank to be granted a license to operate a digital-native bank; the successful groundbreaking of the UnionBank Innovation Campus, the country’s first-ever learning institution focused on digital innovation; and having 21 patents for its innovative offers already approved and 18 more on the way.
Other notable achievements include the integration of Instapay 2.0 into its digital banking platform; the successful launch of the UnionBank SME Banking App; the launch of wealth management educational campaigns including the NextGen Academy; significant user growths for UBX’s platforms SeekCap, Bux, and Sentro; and the significant increase in UnionBank’s customer base to almost 10 million to date, from just nearly 7 million as of end-2020.
Meanwhile, Arvie De Vera – Co-Founder and CEO of UnionBank’s digital-native banking arm UnionDigital, cited UnionDigital for being one of only six financial institutions in the Philippines that have officially been granted digital banking licenses by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to date.
As UnionBank’s digital banking arm, UnionDigital will focus on delivering banking and financial services to underserved sectors which the parent bank is not able to optimally cater to.
“While UnionDigital aims to empower the country’s digital economy, we also aim to elevate it by bringing trust and governance into the space. We embrace innovation like a fintech, but offer all the powers, experience, and track record of a fully regulated bank,” de Vera said.
In terms of what customers can expect from the Bank and its subsidiaries in 2022, some of the things that Aguda and de Vera gave a sneak preview of were the Bank’s possible foray into non-fungible tokens (NFTs), several new solutions aimed at helping workers in the thriving gig economy through EON, and participating in the growing interest and opportunities relating to the metaverse, just to name a few.