Union Bank of the Philippines led by bankero Edwin Bautista continues with its digital transformation journey as users of its online app and other innovative products reached four million.
With the ongoing changes in consumer behavior as a result of the accelerated shift to digital, UnionBank customer experience and physical channels head Ron Batisan said that financial solutions providers should continue to be at pace, introducing measures to enable familiarity for customers who explore new and emerging digital fronts, such as cryptocurrency and the metaverse.
“We should always operate in a sense that the path should still be safe with all of these new things that are happening. The basic concept of marketing should be considered, where we need to follow whatever is relevant to the customer,” Batisan said.
During the recently concluded AIBP Insights forum, Batisan talked about UnionBank’s fully digital and paperless banking branch The ARK.
From just one, now there are more than 150 The ARKs all over the Philippines. Within the last four years, the Bank also saw a significant increase in the usage of self-service machines for cash and check deposits, cash withdrawal and other basic transactions, and in downloads for the UnionBank Online app, growing to about four million from 300,000 users in 2017.
“With that in mind, I think the role of our branch personnel have changed from transactional, to advisory and even selling. Now, they have time to sell insurance products, credit and debit cards, and other Bank products. They have become our sales and digital conversion team,” Batisan said.
Aside from the transformation of UnionBank’s spaces and people to meet the ever-changing needs of customers, essentially future-proofing the Bank, the cost of operating a physical branch was reduced significantly, contributing greatly to its bottom line.
“In 2020, we took a look at our network and saw that there were branches that had limited transactions but it didn’t mean that they didn’t have customers anymore,” Batisan said.
The Aboitiz-led bank rationalized and closed more than 10 branches then.
“But in terms of customer acquisition, we’ve gained a lot of customers especially through our digital account opening. For instance, we’ve opened more than one million accounts in 2021,” Batisan added.