Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) recently rolled out more cash-out options for customers via 11,000 remittance counters across the Philippines, including in rural areas where most of the unbanked and underserved population are located.
This makes UnionBank the first Philippine bank to launch the largest cash-out network in the country – a development seen to improve access to financial services for communities amidst the ongoing pandemic.
Sending funds to families and relatives living in provinces has been challenging, especially in far-flung areas where ATMs and bank branches are scarce or unavailable. UnionBank identified that the best course of action to address this concern was to enable its customers to send money from home via its app to remittance counters in underserved areas.
The bank leveraged existing partnerships with top fintechs in the country such as Dragonpay and Coins.ph, as well as remittance centers Cebuana Lhuillier, LBC, PeraHub and Palawan Express. Integrating the service on UnionBank’s app was made possible in a short amount of time through application programming interfaces (APIs) exposed on the bank’s API Developer Portal/ marketplace. This also enabled rural banks currently on UnionBank’s i2i network, to connect to the payout counters, allowing their account holders to send or withdraw funds from these non-traditional outlets.
In just a couple of weeks, UnionBank secured approval from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to perform a live pilot remittance and roll out the feature in the UnionBank Online app.
“With the onset of this pandemic, it has become crucial that our products and services quickly adapt to the challenges presented in this new digital normal,” said Edwin Bautista, UnionBank president and CEO. “This cash-out service is just one way for UnionBank to demonstrate its commitment to financial inclusion as we continue venturing forth in tech-ing up the Philippines.”
Meanwhile, UnionBank Fintech Business Group head Arvie de Vera said this is another testament that technology and digital services can be used to ensure that no one gets left behind, especially during the current crisis.
“Through collaboration with various UnionBank teams and our fintech partners, we have demonstrated that the spirit of Bayanihan is very much alive as we address the needs of our kababayans,” De Vera said.
For his part, John Januszczak, president and CEO of UnionBank’s fintech subsidiary UBX said they are excited about this latest offering. “By adding more options for cash-in and cash-out points we hope to lessen the travel and time outside for Filipinos when they access financial services,” he said.