Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) recently won big at the prestigious Retail Banker International (RBI) Asia Trailblazer Awards, where it was able to showcase its numerous innovations and milestones in digital banking and transformation in the past year.
Over the years, the Bank has won praise for these efforts from various local and international award-giving bodies, a testament to its accomplishments in creating solutions that elevate lives and fulfills dreams.
For this year’s awarding ceremony, UnionBank’s 8 awards spanned over 4 major categories. “Best Remittances Initiative” award for the Bank’s Send-i2i solution. Send-i2i is a service that provides a cheaper, safer, and near real-time cross-border remittance from Singapore to anywhere in the Philippines, including far flung communities often cut off from international payment systems. It streamlines the process for rural banks when receiving funds from overseas. From a timeframe of up to 20 days, Send-i2i rural banks will be able to receive remittances in mere seconds.
The Bank also took home the “Best ATM and Self-Service Innovation” award for Project BitBox, which introduced the first-ever virtual currency ATM in the country that is backed by the BankoSentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), providing UnionBank customers with a secure and convenient way to convert their cash into cryptocurrency and vice versa.
For its Digital RM solution, UnionBank was awarded “Best Retail Bank – Philippines.” Through this innovation, managing a UnionBank account is now easier as customers can just reach out to their respective digital relationship managers for all concerns related to their account. It’s also one of two ways customers can open a new account online, the other option being the UnionBank Online app’s digital account opening feature.
Another winning project was the UnionBankGlobalLinker Trade Connect initiative, which was awarded “Best Social Media Marketing Campaign.” UnionBankGlobalLinker is an innovative free-to-use digital platform utilizing world-class technology that allows MSMEs to access business offers for a simpler, easier, profitable, and enjoyable experience to grow their business. It flew out 25 Filipino Business owners to Singapore and attended Trade Connect, a cross border Global SME Meetup.
Aside from the four aforementioned awards, UnionBank also garnered commendations for four other initiatives, bringing the total number to eight accolades from the award-giving body.
Among these commendations is “Most Innovative Branch Offering” for The ARK, the country’s pioneering fully digital and paperless banking branch. UnionBank introduced the very first ARK branch back in 2017 with the goal of harnessing technology to revolutionize the way people look at banking. As of September 2020, the total number of ARK branches in the country is at 50.
The Bank also earned a “Best Staff Training and Development Programme” commendation for The ARK Ambassadors. Deployed in each ARK branch in place of tellers, the role of these ambassadors is to act as guides for customers, answering their queries and assisting them in the use of The ARK’s on-premise digital banking solutions.
UnionBank’s Machine Learning and AI in Business was commended for “Best Use of Machine Learning”. With the Bank’s strong data science/tech capabilities and rich historical data, it was able to develop and operationalize machine learning models throughout the organization.
And finally, for its agile work culture, the Bank received an “Excellence in Employee Engagement” commendation. A key component of the Bank’s digital transformation journey, the adoption of an agile mindset and corporate culture has allowed the Bank to digitize efficiently. It also continues to play a major role in the Bank’s ability to consistently deliver solutions that meet the ever-changing needs of customers.
UnionBank’s recent wins at the RBI Awards are the latest among accolades received this year alone, following the Bank’s recent naming in the BankQuality Consumer Survey on Retail Banks as the second most helpful bank in the Asia-Pacific Region during the COVID-19 pandemic in May this year.