PNP eyes fintech firms in growing digital shift
Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - November 7, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA,Philippines — Lucio Tan-led Philippine National Bank (PNB) is eyeing possible mergers, acquisitions or partnership with financial technology firms as the bank readies its shift towards digitization.

In a press briefing, PNB president and chief executive officer Jose Arnulfo Veloso said most players in the Philippine banking industry are pursuing initiatives that are geared toward digital transformation.

Veloso said the shift has made it become necessary for banks to change their mindsets to allow continuous and consistent innovation.

On the part of the PNB, Veloso confirmed that the bank is exploring tie-ups and opportunities for mergers and acquisitions with existing financial technology players. “Affirmative. That is the only way we can move forward,” he said.

Asked what type of fintech company the bank would want to partner or merge with, he said the PNB wants to establish links with different companies that offer various digital solutions, allowing PNB to establish an end-to-end ecosystem for its clients.

“It’s an end-to-end business proposition that we would like to put together in the digital space,” the bank official said.

For one, he said PNB needs to find a good partner that would be able to provide an efficient remittance system.

 “Once the remittance is here, we need to be able to have a partner who has got a lot of partnerships with different payment centers. Because a lot of us need to pay our bills, the ability to be able to have this is very important,” he said.

Veloso said there is also a need for a cybersecurity partner to ensure that the private data and money of the bank’s customers are protected.

The PNB is set to host this Nov. 14 to 15 the 36th Asian Bankers Association (ABA) Conference in Makati City, with the theme “Reshaping the Asian Financial Landscape.”

Speakers in the said conference will discuss, among others, how global financial systems are transforming in the face of the US-China trade war and the increasing presence of financial technology firms and start-ups.

 “This is going to be a good opportunity for the rest of the participants to share their experience as Asia has received a lot of good opportunities for funding, fueled by really strong GDP growth as compared to the rest of the world,” Veloso said.

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