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September 26, 2022

UnionBank stresses need to balance data collection, customer privacy

Union Bank of the Philippines headed by bankero Edwin Bautista has emphasized the need to balance data collection and individual privacy to ensure the best experiences for customers.

Henry Aguda, chief technology and operations officer at UnionBank, shared valuable insights on how the Aboitiz-led bank is able to achieve this balance, benefiting customers and its employees.

“Everything has to have a balance, between the rights of individuals—our customers; and the need for the Bank to maximize its top line — which is, the more you know about your customers, the more you are able to influence what they procure as services from you,” Aguda said.

The chief transformation officer pointed out that UnionBank employs what it calls “privacy by design,” in keeping with a regulatory requirement by the National Privacy Commission (NPC).

This obligates an entity to always consider data privacy from the onset of product development.

“So, what happens? Our product people, while they develop a new product, are already collaborating with our data protection officer, ensuring that nothing goes out there in the marketplace without safeguards. It has to be permission-specific. The customer should always have the [final] say before the Bank can use whatever is necessary with the data,” Aguda added.

Aguda cited the typical arrangement in other companies, where data protection and commercial data officers have to normally balance each other’s domains.

But not for UnionBank. He said the data protection officer, regulatory groups, and cybersecurity experts all work together toward customer centricity instead.

“Our customer centricity guides everybody. Thus, as our data protection and other regulatory officers execute compliance, they know that they cannot do so by sacrificing customer experience,” Aguda added

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