By Lee C. Chipongian
Philippine National Bank (PNB) is accelerating its digital transformation as it adapts to more “new normal” banking strategies, according to its president and CEO, Jose Arnulfo “Wick” Veloso.
In May, in the middle of the outbreak and lockdown, Veloso said the bank’s mobile banking portal registered 3.1 million transactions – fund transfers and payments — up 25 percent from April.
To meet the rising demand for digital banking products and services, PNB is expanding its digitalization efforts.
“It is very clear that digital products are now more relevant than ever. As social distancing becomes the new normal and quarantine measures are today’s reality, we need to quickly deploy technology to make it easier for more Filipinos to do their banking transactions anytime, anywhere,” said Veloso during the bank’s online stakeholders meeting recently. “As we face the ‘new normal’ we are embarking on speeding up all our other digital initiatives to meet this need.”
Veloso said the lockdown and reworking banking services around the community quarantine restrictions were “tough” for the industry but despite the challenges of the “new normal” the bank adjusted well to a pandemic-proof banking business.
“PNB is operating business-as-usual, providing uninterrupted financial services to our customers,” said Veloso. Telecommuting, for example, is now part of working life.
“We have a dedicated skeletal workforce to make sure that critical support functions are not disrupted. And to make sure that the offices are safe for our colleagues who are part of the skeletal working force in our offices– these offices and our branches are constantly being sanitized to keep our employees and customers safe at all times,” he said. PNB now has a COVID-19 Command Center and operational support for all business units, he added.
Veloso also said PNB staff and employees “quickly adjusted” to the “new normal”.
The bank’s Information Technology Group assisted all PNB workers during the pandemic. “We’re able to bring our devices, our computers and our work outside the office (and by) activating our video conferencing capabilities, we limited the unnecessary exposure. Since then, our employees have been using this platform to work and to have daily virtual meetings with one another,” said Veloso.
“We greatly appreciate the dedication of PNB employees. We clearly see the risk of having to work in time of crisis, and this is why we have implemented various initiatives to ensure our employees’ well-being,” he added. To ensure well-being of their staff, PNB has dedicated Flu Managers and Certified Psycho-social Support Facilitators.
“Today, we are determined more than ever to pursue safe, sustainable and profitable banking while carry on PNB’s purpose of supporting our customers with financial solutions that make lives better for our fellow Filipinos,” said Veloso.