UnionBank shifting to cloud as digital payments accelerate

Lawrence Agcaoili - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Aboitiz-led Union Bank of the Philippines is ramping up the migration of its information technology (IT) system to the cloud as digital payments continued to soar in the country amid the mobility restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

UnionBank chief information and operations officer Dennis Omila said the bank has tapped Amazon Web Services (AWS) to complete its shift to the cloud next year.

Omila said UnionBank stands to generate  savings of over 30 percent or more than $1 million over five years and create a return on investment in less than 18 months by shifting to the cloud.

Furthermore, he said the migration is intended to accelerate the bank’s digital transformation, improve customers’ digital banking experiences, and strengthen financial inclusion in the Philippines by bringing financial services to remote parts of the country.

UnionBank will also launch a cloud-only IT transformation strategy, becoming the first major bank in the Philippines to be fully hosted in the cloud.

“The breadth and depth of the world’s leading cloud provider enables us to more quickly launch new financial services, including a mobile bank on wheels to scale financial inclusion in remote areas and help Filipinos everywhere to bank digitally. Now, more consumers, farmers, fishers, and local businesses will have access to the tools to help better manage cash flow, making it easier to send and receive payments,” Omila said.

UnionBank uses Amazon API Gateway and Amazon Elastic Container Service to build new mobile banking products with micro services that support any application architecture, regardless of scale, load or complexity.

When the migration is complete, UnionBank will run almost 400 mission-critical applications on AWS to further modernize its IT infrastructure, drive operational efficiencies, and innovate new services.  It is also migrating over 900 virtual machines to VMware Cloud on AWS.

To accelerate its digital transformation by building cloud fluency across the organization, UnionBank is investing in a cloud training program for its staff.


Omila said UnionBank’s digital metrics gained significant traction this year, with strong first quarter results compared to the same period last year.

Close to 60,000 new digital bank accounts were opened every month, an increase of 4.37 times from the same quarter last year, while digital transactions soared by 380 percent.

According to Omila, UnionBank aims to double its digital bank accounts opening to about one million this year from the current level of about 500,000 last year.

Conor McNamara, managing director at AWS ASEAN said   banks across Southeast Asia are adopting cloud to exceed their customers’ expectations, pursue new opportunities opened by evolving regulations, and address challenges presented by the ongoing pandemic.

“These firms ultimately recognize cloud as a business and technology enabler. By moving its infrastructure to AWS, UnionBank gains access to an unmatched portfolio of cloud services to deliver new financial solutions and experiences and solve meaningful customer problems quickly and at scale while reducing operational costs,” McNamara said.

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