How Huawei is helping UnionBank Philippines transform for an inclusive future


One of the biggest benefits of digital transformation for banks is that it can help them expand their services over great distances, including to customers living in remote locations.

The desire to provide a better experience for all customers, regardless of their location, was one of the main reasons Union Bank of the Philippines launched its digital transformation strategy five years ago.

UnionBank’s senior executive vice president, chief technology and operations officer and chief transformation officer Henry R. Aguda said going digital was identified as a way to make things easier for customers.

“We saw that only 1% of payments were made digitally and we knew something had to be done,” Aguda says. “Instead of creating more branches, we focused on going digital for a better banking experience and to serve more people. “

Partnership for success

Huawei has been a key partner in UnionBank’s digital transformation, especially in realizing its vision of network transformation.

“We remain uncompromising and eager to choose partners,” says Aguda. “We work in partnership with organizations and businesses that are aligned with our vision, our security and our drive for inclusive prosperity and to be agile. “

Together, the two organizations have achieved incredible results. By the end of March 2021, UnionBank had integrated 2.4 million customers with UnionBank Online, an increase of 339% compared to December 2019, with just over a quarter of customers opening their accounts through the bank’s app. In March 2021, digital transactions had increased 380% compared to December 2019 to reach 6.6 million per month.

Digital transformation has also helped UnionBank’s workforce. During the pandemic, UnionBank was one of the first banks to switch to working from home, enabling 86% of its workforce immediately.

Aguda says this would not have been possible without the transformation of UnionBank’s network and the implementation of next-generation security technology to protect employees outside the corporate network. He says the partnership with Huawei has allowed the network architecture to evolve to provide 24/7 secure availability, six sigma reliability and T + 0 service delivery.

At the same time, Aguda says the pandemic has encouraged Filipinos to accept more online banking.

“The digital transformation launched by UnionBank five years ago has prepared us for the greatest disruption facing the entire world today,” says Aguda. “Our transformation has implemented our digital banking technology, paving the way for us to continue serving public banking needs despite the limitations of these uncertain times.

True transformation

Aguda says that one of the keys to a successful transformation is to monitor emerging technologies and make the necessary preparations for them to flourish. UnionBank has incorporated many new technologies into its transformation, including artificial intelligence and blockchain, to create profitable and secure solutions for customers.

“It’s about being lightning fast,” says Aguda. “Be the first to do it and do it right. Digital transformation is not a simple, one-time task. It is a continuous process of learning and adaptation. You have to put in time, effort and capital.

“That’s why it’s important that the organizations we partner with have the same level of engagement and mindset as our organization,” says Aguda. “Again, it’s about being lightning fast, and Huawei has always been able to provide the same level of commitment and the same mindset to our organization.”

And he says investing in the people of the organization is also vital. By focusing on training people to be ready for transformation first, Aguda says UnionBank has mitigated potential problems before they arise.

“The precious thing we have learned from this pandemic is that people just need to come together,” Aguda said. “To get through this crisis, we must have a culture to learn. And never fear the unknown, because if we fear the unknown, we will not be able to invent, innovate and discover.

An inclusive future

The transformation reinforced UnionBank’s vision to create a more inclusive organization, which is brought to life through its financial spin-off, UBX. Aguda claims that UBX’s i2i financial platform grew 2,769% in registrations, while its BUX payment gateway increased by 170% in registrations compared to just a few hundred in 2019.

In addition, UBX’s online store builder Sentro grew its customer base by 241% after just one year, and its SeekCap online lending marketplace has grown by 800% in users since 2019.

“UBX is working on many projects to develop new technologies to improve the way we do business,” Aguda said. “In these projects, we aim to create the most efficient means and provide better solutions to problems. “

UnionBank also improves the financial landscape for entrepreneurs and small businesses by providing them with better banking experiences, and enters the insurance market by creating a market for insurance companies and consumers.

Above all, Aguda says UnionBank is delivering on its promise to bring modern financial technology practices to rural areas.

“The possibilities are endless and we want to be present in all sectors where digital transformation and innovation are needed,” says Aguda.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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