Cezar Consing, BPI president and CEO.
BPI ramps up digitalization, financial inclusion
Michaela Tangan (The Philippine Star) - July 28, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines —  According to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), technology is a key enabler in bringing formal financial services closer to the unbanked Filipinos. Financial inclusion empowers the unserved and underserved population while boosting economic growth.

With high smartphone penetration and Internet or mobile data usage in the Philippines, the banking and finance industry takes advantage of technology and innovates financial services to reach more Filipinos and open up new markets.

Manny and Me and Senior High School Acceleration Program (SHAPE) have already taught around 141,000 students and trained over 1,400 teachers across the country.

Towards financial inclusion

Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), a pioneer among Philippine banks, maximizes digitalization as an instrument for financial inclusion. Because of its digitalization efforts, transactions that are usually done in physical branches can now be conveniently accomplished using ATMs, computers, and mobile devices.

In the first phase of its digitalization, BPI concentrated on building its state-of-the-art cybersecurity operations center, upgrading core systems, improving turnaround times, and enhancing the customer experience.

“With even relatively new technologies being replaced by even more advanced technologies at an increasingly faster rate, we expect BPI’s digital transformation to be an ongoing process, spanning decades, with new versions of a digitalized BPI emerging every few years,” said Cezar Consing, BPI president and CEO.

The Bank is now on the second phase of its digitalization journey, which involves ramping up its tech investment over the next few years.

“As the world becomes increasingly digitalized, embarking on this journey is a critical step in maintaining the competitive advantage of our franchise. A successful execution of Phase Two of our digitalization journey would, at the minimum, protect our base case revenue projections between now and 2023,” said Consing.

Apart from over 1,000 BPI, BPI Family Savings Bank, and BanKo branches and over 3,000 ATMs and CAMs (Cash Accept Machines), the bank empowers its clients by making its services accessible 24/7 via its digital platforms.

To reach its goal of spreading financial inclusion, BPI also prioritized microfinance through its wholly-owned subsidiary BPI Direct BanKo, which offers loans to self-employed micro-entrepreneurs such as stall operators in public markets, beauty salon operators, and neighborhood bakeries.

BanKo has made over P4 billion in loans to almost 60,000 entrepreneurs in 2018. By the end of this year, BPI targets to have a total of 300 BanKo branches.

“BanKo will be the first digitalized bank in the country truly focused on financial inclusion, with a robust, secure, agile, and scalable cloud-enabled system that supports basic loans, deposits and mobile wallets as well as providing access to digital channels and payments. In addition, BanKo clients can access their accounts through 1,700 partner agencies,” said Consing.

BanKo targets to have 300 branches by end-2019.

Financial education within reach

On top of these initiatives, BPI Foundation also brings financial education and financial management programs closer to people from all walks of life — from teachers, public elementary and senior high school students, to soldiers and farmers.

Educating teachers and young Filipinos about the value of money and financial literacy will bind the success and sustainability of financial education efforts. With this, the company’s Manny and Me and Senior High School Acceleration Program (SHAPE) have already taught around 141,000 students and trained over 1,400 teachers across the country on how to effectively integrate financial literacy in classroom discussions.

BPI empowers its clients by making its services accessible 24/7 via the BPI Online and BPI Mobile App.

To reach out to the underbanked sectors such as teachers, police and military personnel, and low-income earners, BPI Foundation also strengthened its FinEd-in-a-Box, a customized financial literacy module, by partnering with DepEd, BSP, Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Army, and other private organizations such as Ayala Corporation and Ayala Foundation.

As one of the country’s most trusted financial institutions for the past 168 years, BPI reinforces its commitment to provide better access to relevant financial solutions for every Filipino to help spur economic growth and build a better Philippines.

AYALA-LED BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS
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