The Philippine universal bank has an onerous task on hand as it prepares to make banking available to maximum number of citizens in the country:
The Philippine bank BDO Unibank has all the services that a universal bank offers – corporate and institutional banking, retail banking, rural banking, private banking, investment banking and transaction banking. It is a full-service financial institution of choice and is driving the country into a new era of digital banking, and more importantly, inclusive banking. It is the leader in the Philippines and has presence in most of the countries in Europe and North America as well as offices in the Middle East and Asia. In the Philippines, it stands out for financial inclusion and digitization of operations.
Originally Banco de Oro Bank, BDO Unibank is the largest bank in the Philippines and among the top banks in Southeast Asia. A member of SM Group, it is also the largest bank in the country by market capitalization. It has its subsidiaries that offer leasing and financing, investment banking, private banking, bancassurance, insurance brokerage and stockbrokerage services.
CORE AS VALUE PROPOSITION
The bank has adopted CORE as its fundamental value proposition to the customers – Customer Focus, Out-of-the-Box thinking, Right Attitude and Excellent Execution. It has an underlying culture of innovation that helps it to adapt more easily to the restrictive conditions. For example, during the pandemic, it just simplified its branch forms and streamlined its processes so that customers can be onboarded in the least possible time and with the minimum efforts.
As part of its bringing in digitization, the bank in the first instance, focused on improving remote-access facilities and reduce the need for in-person interaction. The bank is also in the midst of a project to re-engineer its customer journey into a fully digitized process, thus automating and streamlining operations across the bank. It is now deploying a next-gen platform that will help it to boost turnaround times, improve accessibility across all banking channels and beef up security.
The Philippines is a country where financial inclusion is at its lowest level. Banking penetration is below 50% and a major portion of the country’s cities and municipalities are unbanked. Digitization has just been peripheral with less than 14% of the customers accessing their banks digitally.
BDO Unibank has the largest distribution network in the country, with more than 1400 branches and nearly 5000 ATMs. It has developed its digital banking system as a multi-channel set-up, which seamlessly integrates the branch network with its digital, online and mobile banking platforms. This has obviously increased the transaction volumes. The bank has developed a mobile banking solution, Cash Agad, which especially allows debit and prepaid cardholders to perform banking transactions through the use of PoS terminals.
DIGITAL PAYMENTS SOLUTION
BDO Unibank’s digital banking expansion is powered by Huawei’s OceanStor Dorado All-Flash Storage Solution, which implements a reliable, secure and future-proofed data-sharing platform that is virtual and in the cloud. This has helped the bank to introduce a mobile wallet and contactless payment solution BDO Pay in 2021, which provides users with convenient and instant access to digital banking services.
As a digital payments app, BDO Pay offers 5 key functions – Send Money, Pay Bills, Scan to Pay, Split Bill and Request Money. A customer can make use of features like Scan to Pay, Split Bill, Send Money, Pay Bills, and more. The app links directly to the customers’ BDO account and credit card.
While undertaking the IT infrastructure upgrade, the bank has also refreshed its virtual private cloud. This has immensely helped it to meet the constantly changing demands for capacity and services.
The bank’s CTO Paul Siy said at a conference that the bank has in fact undertaken a multi-year IT infrastructure simplification journey, which is in fact a transformation of its networks, computing and storage. The bank intends to have a system that is more stable, more resilient and easier to manage in terms of infrastructure. So, on the network side, it has shifted its branches from a traditional MPLS network to SD-WAN and has placed much of its workloads in either the public cloud or on software-as-a-service (SaaS) arrangement. It is currently in the process of migrating its archives off tape storage and to adopt backup-as-a-service capabilities.
The bank has positioned itself for expanding its operations and network and strengthening its bottom line as it ventures into new markets. As of 31 March 2022, it is the Philippine’s largest bank in terms of consolidated resources, customer loans, deposits, assets under management and capital, as also branch and ATM network. It expects to consolidate its position through continued digitization and use of the latest technologies, and gain customer confidence, as the country itself is on a mission to make banking available to all.
This article has been compiled based on publicly available information on the web, particularly the bank’s own website.