By Alithea De Jesus
As the government sets sights on curbing the number of unbanked Filipinos in the countryside and provide them access to financial services and financial inclusion programs, BanqIn, an instant all-in-one digital banking platform developed by Bank-Genie vows to support these to empower all sector in this underserved market segment.
Through BanqIn’s innovative and transformational solutions, its all-in-one digital core banking platform has been in place in local banks like the Rural Bank of Kibawe. The Rural Bank of Kibawe is one of the few micro-finance companies in the Philippines to hold a license from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to operate as a deposit-taking micro-finance service institution. Its fundamental purpose is to alleviate poverty and uplift the lives of people left out of the formal financial service eco-system by providing access to credit.
“Our sincere appreciation to BanqIn for the bold move of introducing its core banking solution to The Rural Bank of Kibawe. This will be the beginning of a fruitful and long-lasting partnership in making digital banking a reality to the people of Mindanao”, states Mr. Lasmar L. Edullantes, President, Rural Bank of Kibawe (Bukidnon) Inc.
Many rural banks continue time-consuming manual processes and requiring customers to have to commute long distances to undertake face to face financial transactions. For banking to thrive in remote rural areas in the Philippines, advanced digital and communications technologies should be utilized.
BanqIn’s Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Mr. Ragu Nanshan Senthil Kumar. “BanqIn believes everyone must have an opportunity to take charge of their financial life and we are delighted to be able to provide our technologies and work with The Rural Bank of Kibawe to amplify this intent significantly.”
Improving Banks’ Operational Efficiencies
Another customer, Filidian Rural Bank of Antipolo, agreed to adapt the banking solutions of BanqIn. This pushes their common goal to serve the underbanked and unbanked in the Philippines, particularly in uncertain times. “I’m happy and feel that there is co-operation within the team. I feel really confident about the product from BanqIn and hoping for success in the implementation,” says Hiro Budhrani, President of Filidian Rural Bank of Antipolo Inc.
This partnership with Filidian Rural Banks deepens Bank-Genie’s commitment to unlocking financial opportunities for communities around the Philippines. Kumar adds, “In an interrupted world, the need to maintain a continued means of service remains important. We are delighted to partner with Filidian Bank in providing products that drive this cause.”
Aside from improving a bank’s operational efficiencies and processes, BanqIn reduces the costs it takes for a bank to reach a high number of transaction volumes without the traditional banking set up of brick-and-mortar branches. By bringing digital banking to rural areas, furthering financial inclusion becomes much easier — something that all should be aiming for as financial inclusion has proven to alleviate poverty among communities.
There is optimism that the country’s financial institution landscape would improve as there is an increasing number of Filipinos migrating to digital payment cashless transactions brought about by the ongoing pandemic.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has recently launched its Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap 2020-2023. This Roadmap charts the BSP’s current initiatives and strategy in advancing an efficient, inclusive, safe and secure digital payments ecosystem. The end goal includes increasing the number of Filipinos with access to financial services.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) 2019 financial inclusion survey report reveals that there are 51 million adult Filipinos nationwide remain unbanked. Data also shows that only 12 percent of mobile phone owners and nine percent of internet users use their mobile phones and the internet for financial transactions. The survey also reveals that seven in 10 unbanked Filipino adults have a mobile phone. This represents an untapped opportunity for digital finance. Respondents say that “lack of awareness and trust are the main reasons for not making mobile or online financial transactions.”
Kumar adds, “The new normal continues to impact the business. Banks also need to change the way they do business by adopting emerging technologies that improve their services. Bank-Genie will strive to adapt to customers’ changing needs in the new normal by providing technology that intercepts traditional banking processes and transforms them into experiences to make things easier, better, and faster.”
BanqIn’s all-in-one financial inclusion platform has been adapted by key financial institutions around Asia. Through Bank-Genie’s partnership with the Credit Union Foundation Australia (Cufa), Bank-Genie has been able to play a pivotal role in rural and microfinance institutions around Asia and Africa. Cufa is an Australian not-profit-organization that aims to eradicate poverty by supporting credit unions in Southeast Asia and Pacific regions. It has strengthened its presence in Myanmar by providing Bank-Genie’s digital banking solutions to 23 credit unions around Myanmar.