UnionBank turns 35 by breaking more records, introducing more products, winning more awards, reaching out to more communities and ushering a new age of digital transformation in Philippine banking.
Imagine a creatively designed building at the Ateneo campus in Katipunan-one that serves as a home for innovation-for cutting-edge thinking in both sciences and the arts.
Imagine one wing filled with the latest scientific equipment for advanced scientific study and exploration. Imagine the other wing with painting classrooms, sandboxes, theaters, and even the latest equipment for the best in the culinary arts.
Now imagine the Main Plaza linking the science wing to the creative humanities wing.
This link between the Sciences and the Arts-literally and metaphorically-is UnionBank's latest contribution to advancing innovative, critical, and creative thinking among the country's brightest young minds.
The new building is called Arete-a Greek word which roughly translates to excellence and virtue in English.
It is envisioned to become an iconic hub that would bring the best and brightest students together in a multi-disciplinary setting. This hub is also expected to inspire fresh partnerships and perspectives and prompt the exchange of ideas to bring creative solutions to complex Philippine issues.
To build the innovative link or bridge between the two structures, UnionBank committed P20M to the Ateneo. Beyond the financial contribution, this partnership between Ateneo and UnionBank is a testament to the drive of both institutions to remain relevant, develop experts, and constantly challenge conventions. It also provides the Bank with the opportunity to interact, engage, and inspire future leaders.
What exactly is UnionBank's UREKA?
UREKA is now one of the most popular forums and hubs for small or upcoming businesses that are pushing the boundaries of entrepreneurship in the Philippines.
It supports UnionBank's sustainability agenda by maximizing digital platforms to create a new network of Philippine businesses that are futureproof and ready for tomorrow's challenges.
Are you a young entrepreneur aching to take your business to the next level? Are you an industry expert looking for a new consortium where you can discuss and test your new ideas with peers?
Look no further. The UREKA Forum is here for the new breed of Pinoy entrepreneurs.
Please visit the UREKA website to learn more about the program and how to take part in its upcoming activities.
We often think of libraries and archives as rooms filled with stoic artifacts-beautiful to look at as antiquarian relics, but never as living documents, actual windows to our souls, or a source of creative and innovating thinking.
But for UnionBank, our future as a country not only hinges on our understanding of the past-it is more so a function of how much we seek to know our past, how we value our collective identity, and how we inform our critical thinking with the rich lessons of history.
To put these lofty but abstract ideals into practical action, UnionBank embarked on a multi- million program called Lumina Pandit in partnership with Asia's oldest university, the University of Santo Tomas in Manila.
The partnership began in 2011, when our Bank supported UST's 400 th founding anniversary by funding the continued preservation of UST's massive collection of history books, rare literary works, and invaluable reference materials.
The UST has become a repository of an incredible amount of such archival materials. Much of the collection that Lumina Pandit seeks to preserve belong to periods between 1492 to 1900-all of which survived numerous natural and man-made ravages and calamities.
All of these materials are obviously national treasures-and this is what UnionBank seeks to highlight through this generous CSR program.
To learn more about Lumina Pandit, please visit our website: http://digilib.ust.edu.ph.
UnionBank's collective push to inspire a new era in banking has driven our people to partner with global leaders to launch a new line of products and services for our Filipino clients.
For 2017, our Bank launched the UnionBank Capital Accumulation Global Fund of Funds UITF. We also partnered with Swiss group Lombard Odier for wealth management, and with leading local insurer, Insular Life, for bancassurance.
In partnership with Insular Life, UnionBank is once again changing the rules of the game, as we create a new insurance-selling platform that allows us to allocate resources more wisely and effectively.
Through this innovative deal, Insular Life gains access to UnionBank's six million customers and 300 branches, while our Bank gains a superior line of insurance products that widens our ability to care for the needs of our clients.
Beyond the mere selling of insurance policies, this partnership will offer real financial advisory services, similar to how private financial advisers perform needs analysis for wealthy clients, but this time to a more inclusive market base.
Instead of pushing specific products, the partnership will also offer variable unit-linked products or VULs that are designed based on a client's particular need at a particular stage in life.
Both companies arrived at these new bancassurance solutions without resorting to the creation of a new joint venture company-an old model used by all bancassurance partnerships in the Philippines.
By changing the rules of the game through innovative thinking, the funds that would have otherwise gone to the creation of a new corporate entity now goes to hiring top talents and investing in their training. This will ensure that UnionBank's new insurance line offers the best possible solutions to the evolving needs of today's clients.
In partnership with one of the largest private banks in Europe, Swiss banking icon Lombard Odier, UnionBank has brought Family and Wealth Planning Services to the Philippine market.
UnionBank recognizes the unique obstacles behind passing on wealth and shared values from one generation to the next, as well as the lack of proven solutions to such challenges.
Together with Lombard Odier, UnionBank now provides solutions that integrate all the values of a trusted, resilient local bank with the expertise of a global private bank that has flourished for over 200 years.
Launched on March 28, 2017, this partnership is built on a shared customer-centric approach to financial services and the management of family legacies.
Launched in 2017, the UnionBank Capital Accumulation Global Fund of Funds Portfolio is a US Dollar fund that is invested in various mutual funds and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) in the Global Markets.
It allows investors to benefit from a wide diversification of investment outlets around the world, and potentially superior medium to long-term returns. It also uses a Risk-Based Investment Process, which allocates fund assets based on their current risk. This is contrary to the traditional asset-based allocation, which mandates limits for each asset class.
With Lombard Odier as Investment Consultant, the UnionBank Capital Accumulation Global Fund of Funds UITF pioneers the Risk-Based Investment Process in the country.
The art of corporate endurance is becoming increasingly rare, says the Harvard Business Review. "Over the last 50 years, the average life span of companies has shrunk from around 60 years to closer to 18 years."
A Yale study reveals the same trend. From lasting an average of 67 years in the 1920s, companies exist for only 15 years on average today.
Staying agile. Sustaining competitive advantage. Keeping a brand relevant. These are just some of the buzzwords that managers grapple with as they work to keep their companies afloat.
At UnionBank, however, we believe that operating with a purpose greater than profit is the most critical factor affecting longevity.
Our bank's sense of purpose to engage communities with genuine care and empathy has been our enduring touchstone over the last 35 years.
It has enabled us to outlast older banks, and even outpace the competition with sustained vigor. It has also empowered us to grow more inclusively, work with greater accuracy, and engage communities with deeper urgency.
We do not believe that getting older also means thinking older. This leads us to explore trendsetting technologies that belie our years.
Our sense of purpose and onward march to innovation were embodied by our 35 th anniversary celebrations.
Dubbed as UDX or The UnionBank Digital Experience, your Bank turned 35 with a keen eye on the future.
Beyond the spectacular display of fireworks over UnionBank Plaza HQ, the Bank's leaders staged a digitally powered show to usher in a new era of digital transformation.
UnionBank welcomes change with open arms as it begins its transformation into a fully digital bank. The company is the pioneer and strongest champion of banking's digital future in the country.
But why the radical change? According to UnionBank President and CEO Edwin Bautista: "We're going 'all in' as far as digital transformation is concerned."
"The whole world is changing," he said. "Everything is on a smartphone. People expect a different experience. People are used to downloading apps or e-commerce and streaming movies. That's the lifestyle of today, and in the future, everyone will be doing that."
The process involved in UnionBank's digital change is a lot more complex than most people think.
UnionBank's new technology will require an end-to- end retooling of systems and straight-through processing. This will enable the seamless compression of various complex processes into a matter of seconds.
"We need to stitch a complete digital flow from your device to the bank-to the clearing house-then back to different banks-then bank to your phone. All in that one click," said President & CEO Bautista.
UnionBank's progress toward complete digital transformation is best embodied today by its fully digital branch in Makati called The ARK.
There are no lines of people in this branch, no slips of paper, and no tellers. So how does it work?
All regular bank transactions can be done in this branch, but in place of written records and bank tellers are fully digitized standalone terminals, tablets, touchscreen TVs, and virtual reality goggles.
Of course there are still people to talk to at The ARK, but instead of playing designated roles, such as bank manager, teller, and investment specialist, the employees at this branch assume the role of ambassadors-well-equipped and ready to hand out financial advice and guidance on any possible banking concern.
While The ARK is the first fully digitized bank branch in the country, it also represents UnionBank's customer-first mindset. By introducing Filipinos to the platforms of banking's future, today, our customers are more empowered and more prepared to face tomorrow's challenges.
Launched in April 2017, Rafa is able to deliver instant customer service to all clients, 24/7.
Rafa can take all types of customer queries, handles general information requests, helps people locate the ATM or branch nearest them, and even knows updated foreign exchange rates of up to 10 major currencies.
Beyond technical functions, Rafa is imbued with traits and characteristics that makes him an ideal Smart Banker for UnionBank clients.
He is assertive and innovative, with a drive for leadership demonstrated by his ability to absorb a large amount of information and make quick and decisive judgements.
He is also outgoing and sociable, energized and stimulated externally by lively and challenging conversations.
In line with UnionBank's digital transformation, we are inviting fintech companies and startups in the country to make use of the bank's wide range of application programming interface (API) options to develop solutions to the challenges faced by the finance and banking sector today.
Aside from establishing innovative partnerships, this initiative aims to enable sustainable banking solutions by fostering innovation and collaboration between the bank and its partners.
"We want fintechs and startups to use our APIs so they are more empowered to create solutions that can impact the lives of stakeholders, not just in the banking and finance sector, but also in sectors that rely on it," said Henry Aguda, UnionBank's senior executive vice president and chief technology and operations officer and chief transformation officer.
Inviting potential partners to use the APIs, UnionBank Chairman Justo Ortiz said "through collaboration, we can create solutions that are not only innovative, but also sustainable."
"We believe that together, we can make the difference in the communities that we serve, and that we can achieve a lot more in terms of empowering these communities," Ortiz said.
For his part, UnionBank's Fintech Business Group Head Arvie de Vera said, "The Fintech Business Group was created precisely to cater to the specific and customized needs of fintechs. We want to enable all fintechs by giving them a platform, a launch pad to succeed. Whether they need our APIs or a customer segment or base to pilot test - we are here to help them."
All of the bank's API offers can be found on the UnionBank developer platform uhac.unionbankph.com. Interested startups and fintechs can visit the site or reach out to UnionBank's fintech banking group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UnionBank leads the way in cybersecurity in the Philippines, especially today when cyber threats are on the rise and customer behavior is changing.
Of the total P3 billion earmarked for UnionBank's digital transformation, a significant portion will go to investments in information technology and cybersecurity.
Our new 24/7 Integrated Operations Center alone represents millions in investments over the next few years to future-proof our business.
Focusing on people, process, and technology, UnionBank has invested in and partnered with reputable security experts to implement a defense-in- depth layer of security.
This tech-savvy security operations center raises the bar for the Bank's cybersecurity. The Integrated Operations Center (IOC) is a collaborative facility for teamwork and communication among the Bank's cybersecurity pillars to develop effective security measures and effectively counter constantly evolving cybersecurity threats.
A situation or war room is stationed in between the Security Operations Center and the IT operations center. The IOC is responsible for monitoring the performance of systems, servers, and applications, as well as monitor uptime of leased lines.
These security tools are supported by straight-through and streamlined processes to deliver swift execution. The Bank, moreover, ensures that it provides its people with relevant and sufficient security awareness trainings and regular reminders on proper cyber hygiene.
All in all, these recent developments will help lead UnionBank toward optimized security for clients and improved incident detection and response, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In its commitment to provide a safer and more secure digital banking experience to its customers, our Bank recently received the certification for the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) version 3.2.
This means we are the first Universal Bank in the country to be certified with the latest cards data security standard. More importantly, this translates to the stronger protection of financial information of our clients against identity theft, fraudulent purchases, and other security threats.
To earn the certification, we had to comply with more stringent requirements to effectively reduce the risk of data breaches and other card issues.
"This recent accomplishment as the first Universal Bank to receive the PCI DSS certification of the latest banking standards is a testament that we are well on our way to achieving our mission to be among the top digital banks in the industry," said Henry R. Aguda, Chief Technology & Operations Officer and Chief Transformation Officer.
"In this digital age, a universal truth in business is that data is the most critical asset. At the forefront of UnionBank's initiatives toward digital transformation is our commitment to ensure the safest and most secure online banking for the utmost protection of our customers' data assets," said Dennis D. Omila, Chief Information Officer.
Founded over five decades ago, City Savings Bank (CitySavings) was founded to serve Filipinos of moderate means. Acquired by UnionBank in 2012, it soon embarked on rapid nationwide expansion - quickly becoming the market leader in teacher's salary loans. By 2017, the CitySavings' assets had grown to over Php70 billion and its branch network had expanded to 106 offices across the archipelago. With its head office at the City Savings Financial Plaza in Cebu City, the bank operates across the country with its 85 branches and 38 ATM machines in key locations nationwide.
CitySavings has given over 300,000 clients access to financial services, affecting countless Filipino lives by enabling its customers to purchase family needs, start small businesses, build their homes, and fund their children's education.
In its 2017 Strategic Planning exercise, CitySavings articulated its Strategic Objective: to be the Leading Mass Market Bank in the Philippines. Continuing its legacy, the bank committed to serve communities by being the preferred institution in the markets it serves and ensuring quality service to its vast clientele.
To deliver this, the bank had to significantly expand its reach, conduct extensive market studies and focus group discussions, harness the credit scoring capabilities offered by big data analytics, and diversify its product offering to respond to the financial needs of the mass market.
In order to provide faster and a more convenient service to its wide-reaching client base, the bank developed new channels: offsite and non-branch loan booking with Loan Rangers - CitySavings' Branch Marketing associates outfitted with ATM cards and tablets which can be used to disburse loans even in remote areas.
CitySavings also entered into a fruitful partnership with PeraHub, the largest network of Western Union locations in the Philippines, augmenting the bank's nationwide reach by the transaction network's over 400 company-owned outlets.
The bank forayed outside the DepEd market in 2015, entering the 2-million strong pensioner market with its GSIS Pensionado Loan product, available exclusively at PeraHub outlets. New products catering to different mass market segments were released in succeeding years, such as the SSS Pensionado, OFW beneficiary, and seaman loans.
Underscoring this expansion are multiple mergers and acquisition (M&A) projects, the first of which was the acquisition of First-Agro Industrial Rural Bank (FAIRBank) in 2015. Serving over 15,000 microfinance clients, FAIRBank is currently undergoing an operational transformation. The iViews project enabled Microfinance officers to geotag and record client visits, using connected tablets.
2018 promises to be an exciting year for the mass market initiative, with the signing of the Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) between ROPALI and CitySavings for the acquisition of Isabela-based Philippine Resources (PR) Savings Bank. The endeavor will allow the Bank to tap the country's growing motorcycle and agri-machinery financing markets, in addition to consolidating its status as the provider of choice for teacher's salary loans.