UnionBank to Launch Digital Bank in 2022

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UnionBank of the Philippines is preparing to launch its digital bank by the second quarter of 2022, Executive Vice President and Financial Inclusion Executive Manuel Santiago Jr. said in an online economic forum organized by the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines. This is part of the bank’s initiative to conform to the rapid digitalization during the current pandemic.

“We are currently organizing the Union Digital. We will launch it by the second quarter of next year,” Santiago said.

In line with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) strong push for digitalization even before the pandemic struck, Santiago stated that through Union Digital, Union Bank aims to reach the huge unbanked population.

“We expect to grow our share and hope to contribute to the BSP’s goal of having 70 percent of adult Filipinos to have bank accounts… We see ourselves as a major participant to the goal of the BSP [of financial inclusion],” Santiago said.

In an email to BusinessWorld, Union Bank said Union Digital will support every aspect for unbanked and under banked sectors. The focus is to be exceptional among other digital banks by utilizing the UnionBank team’s years of experience and leadership from the industry through banking innovation, collaboration and digital transformation.

UnionBank became the fourth bank with a digital banking license in the Philippines as the central bank approved its license to establish its own digital bank last July. UnionBank is the first publicly-listed Philippine bank to be granted a digital banking license by the BSP.

Tonik Digital Bank, UNObank and Overseas Filipino (OF) Bank of Land Bank of the Philippines and Union Digital Bank are the four banks with a digital banking license in the country.

Other financial institutions – the Philippine National Bank, Paymaya and Rizal Commercial Banking Group-  are also applying for a digital banking license. 

The BSP introduced the application for the new digital banking license last December. This requires applicants to have a minimum capitalization of P1 billion. Digital banks are subject to the same requirements as other bank types, although these requirements are recalibrated to be in line with these new bank type’s business model and risk profile.

This article is first published on BitPinas: UnionBank to Launch Digital Bank in 2022

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