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Business

Surigao rural bank launches mobile app

Lawrence Agcaoili - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Surigao del Sur-based Cantilan Bank (CANBNK) has launched a mobile banking app to serve over 100 underbanked communities and boost the financial inclusion efforts of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

CANBNK chairman William Hotchkiss III said the bank aims to stay relevant, competitive and sustainable in a post-COVID digital economy through the iCAN mobile banking app.

The latest digital channel of CANBNK aims to deliver safe and secure cashless financial services to underbanked communities 24/7, and provide them efficient mobile access to core transactions such as fund transfer, bills payment, prepaid phone reloading, and QR code payment.

Hotchkiss said the pandemic highlighted the need to adopt a mobile-first strategy with a customer-centric business model, to diversify online products and service channels, and to continue the meaningful process of digital transformation.

Shane Hermans, founder and chief innovation officer of fintech Geniusto, said the multi-faceted mobile app that is now available for download on Google Play and Apple App stores is a first step to continued partnership of digital expansion in the rural countryside.

“We’ve had the pleasure of experiencing hands-on the accelerated objective of onboarding the rural landscape to the digital space. The Cantilan Bank staff has been further ensuring better, safer, more economical services to be in place for its customers,” Hermans said.

BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said the initiatives of CANBNK is crucial in achieving the goals of converting 50 percent of total retail transactions to digital channels and increasing the number of Filipino adults with bank accounts to 70 percent by 2023 under the Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap.

“Cantilan Bank’s determination and commitment to genuinely help people in the countryside have indeed become its driving force toward innovation. It is the first bank in the country to adopt cloud-based technology for its core banking system – paving the way for other rural banks to do the same,” Diokno said.

The BSP has granted the licenses and approvals for CANBNK to operate as an electronic money issuer – bank to engage in agency banking and to offer a cloud-based Electronic Payment and Financial Service (EPFS).

This allows the bank’s clients to access mobile banking, e-wallet, and cash agency services all in one app.

Melchor Plabasan, director of the BSP Technology Risk and Innovation Supervision Department, said CANBNK was the first rural bank in the country to leverage cloud technology to deliver financial services to unbanked individuals and hard to reach communities.

“This new digital financial service not only paints a picture of what we can aspire for but also shows what modern economy is all about. Creativity, smart use of technology, and resilience,” Plabasan said.

iCAN is a prime example of how innovation is achieved through partnership, as made possible with the support of and collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the International Finance Corp. (IFC), regional innovation center and marketplace, APIX, and the fintech, Geniusto.

CANBNK serves over 100 underbanked communities, providing innovative products and services across its network of 46 branches and branch lite units across 12 provinces in Mindanao and Visayas.

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