Philippines’ MSMEs thrive on UnionBank’s support

Union Bank of the Philippines has delivered for the nation’s micro, small and medium-sized enterprises by sticking with them during the good times and bad, and riding on its digital strengths to bring businesses an unbeatable banking experience. Combine that with top-notch bankers and the franchise only shines brighter.

Union Bank of the Philippines is on an important journey: to become a great retail bank and the go[1]to financial institution for Filipinos everywhere. Embracing digital and technological innovation is core to that journey – and is one that UnionBank excels at.

One of the standout features is that UnionBank has used its excellence in digital banking to advocate for a group of clients most hit by the Covid-19 pandemic: the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the country.

In 2021, the bank launched the MSME business banking mobile app, becoming the first bank in the Philippines to bring out an app just for SMEs. This was an important development that truly recognised the need of the hour for MSMEs, which was collecting funds and payments easily from customers.

To solve for that problem, UnionBank unveiled a feature called UPay for MSMEs, which allows businesses to collect payments easily via a link or a QR code. MSMEs also do not need to visit a branch to submit documents for payments but can input the necessary information online.

UPay saw tremendous growth. The number of merchants using UPay rose a stellar 108% year-on[1]year in 2022 to 1,737 merchants, before rising further to over 2,000 by April 2023. Gross payments made on UPay soared 548% in 2022 – showing how UnionBank has captured an important part of the Philippines’ client base and accelerated financial inclusion in the country.

Its efforts were recognised by The Digital Banker in its 2023 Global Retail Banking Innovation Awards, where UnionBank won the Best Smart Payments Solution by an SME Bank award.

PEOPLE BUSINESS

It goes without saying that despite all the advancements made through digital channels, banking is still very much a people business.

UnionBank has grasped that too, which is why Therese Chan, Director, Head of Wealth Management and Brokerage, took The Digital Banker award for Retail Banker of the Year – Philippines.

Chan gets credit for playing a pivotal role in the migration of Citi’s clients and employees to UnionBank, following the Philippine bank’s acquisition of Citi’s consumer business in 2022. She was proactive in shifting UnionBank’s sales scorecards to ensure the sales team saw value in getting consent from Citi’s clients to migrate over to UnionBank over a three[1]month period. Chan drove constant communication with clients, regulators and employees, and helped create promotions and programmes to ensure client focus was sustained.

Her ability to manage employee concerns, while focusing on the client experience, was instrumental in delivering a 65% year-on-year jump in the number of new-to-bank high net worth clients, an impressive feat amid the changes.

RELATIONSHIP MANAGER SUPPORT

Another stellar UnionBank employee is Justin Dy, Vice President, Senior Relationship Manager, who was named the Best Relationship Manager of the Year by The Digital Banker.

Dy helped generate total revenues of Php21.5 million for the bank. He helped UnionBank acquire 27 new Citigold/Elite clients in 2022, and now handles a portfolio of close to 300 Citigold/Elite clients with combined assets of roughly USD135.6 million.

His strengths were his patience in dealing with client questions, providing insightful portfolio analysis and advice and offering them a high-quality customer experience. His abilities mean Dy has fast become the go-to relationship manager for the bank’s high net worth client base – an achievement that deserves recognition.

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                  The world’s preeminent Private Banks and Wealth Managers are demonstrating a committed drive in innovation, advisory, new products and services to meet the sophisticated needs of their clients.

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                  Amid economic activity revival on the back of the Covid-19 vaccine program, organisations moving from business continuity plans to stable working environments, together with the slightest improvement in unemployment numbers, forced the world to adjust to new realities. Coming to terms with the “new normal”, global investors are now on the look-out for attractive and stable investment opportunities.

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