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Asian Management Excellence Award bestows ‘Innovator of the Year’ Award to RCBC Executive

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The Executive Vice President and Chief Innovations and Inclusion Officer of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), Lito Villanueva, was named the Philippines’ Innovator of the Year for Banking in the Asian Management Excellence Awards held on January 23, 2024, at Conrad Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.

The Asian Management Excellence Awards is the inaugural regional awards organized by the Asian Business Review Magazine that recognizes leaders, innovators, and organizations for their excellence and achievements in various industries. Versions of the awards program have been successfully held in Singapore since 2015, Hong Kong in 2018, and Malaysia in 2021. The Asian Management Excellence Award is organized by the Asian Business Review, a regional magazine renowned for its thought leadership on the economy, investments, manufacturing, technology, travel, and trade.

Villanueva was selected by an esteemed panel of judges hailing from all over Asia in recognition of his efforts in leading RCBC’s massive digital transformation journey. The RCBC executive was assessed for the uniqueness, success, effectiveness, and scale of RCBC’s pioneering digital solutions – RCBC Pulz, RCBC DiskarTech, and RCBC ATM Go, which were also individually recognized for their relevance and impact in accelerating inclusive digital finance at scale. 

Villanueva said that the award is an homage to all members of his hardworking digital team, RCBC employees, partners in the industry, and mentors in the bank. He added that he is excited to unveil RCBC’s newest offerings of innovative digital solutions this year as it sustains its growth momentum as the Philippines’ leading challenger bank.

“This award is the perfect embodiment of what RCBC and its people stand and work for. This is not only a recognition of my contributions but a seal of approval to all the people that I work with that we must continue the task of making banking solutions not only innovative but accessible and relevant to all. Every RCBC banker is an innovator and implementer,” said Villanueva.

Villanueva has pivoted RCBC towards a sustainable and empathy-centric digital transformation. Since joining the bank in 2019, RCBC has garnered close to 200 awards including being named as the Philippines’ Best Bank for Digital by Asiamoney for four straight years from 2020 to 2023 even at the height of the pandemic. RCBC was also recognized by YouTube Challenger Awards for its viral out-of-the-box digital campaigns, Gartner’s Eye on Innovation awards, Bankers Institute of the Philippines’ Grand Champion for Digital Payments and Financial Inclusion, and Number 1 in customer service by the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Statista, among others. 

Lito Villanueva is the Philippines’ award-winning thought leader on digital transformation and inclusive finance at scale. He was also recently feted with the highly coveted Outstanding Achievement for Marketing Management in the Agora Awards, considered as the ‘Oscars’ of Philippine marketing industry, a two-time Circle of Excellence awardee in the Asia CEO Awards, and as the “Mr. FinTech of the Philippines” by NewsBiz Asia. He also bagged triple LinkedIn awards as one of the Top 100 Filipinos on LinkedIn, Philippines’ Top 30 Leaders on LinkedIn, and Top Finance Leader under the LinkedIn Leadership Catalysts Awards in 2023. He is likewise featured in prestigious lists like Seamless Asia’s Top 50 Banking and Payments Leaders and Top 100 Fintech Leaders in Asia, amongst his over 70 regional and global accolades.

Villanueva is also the Founding Chairman of Fintech Alliance.PH, Global Chairman of the Alliance of Digital Finance Associations, a trustee at the Philippine Blockchain Council and Asia FinTech Alliance, and an advisory board member at the ASEAN Innovation Business Platform. He has his regular business column Bytes in the Philippine Star.

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