UPAY aims to provide ‘tailwind’ in MSMEs’ recovery

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By Alithea De Jesus

We cannot deny the fact that the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, has disrupted people’s lives and business activities nationally, regionally, and globally.

In the Philippines, the nationwide lockdown forced upon us by the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the lives of everyone we know. It has caused anxiety as health and safety concerns coupled with economic and income uncertainties weighed down every Juan and Juana, setting back a broad spectrum of businesses.

The MSMEs, dubbed as the backbone of the Philippine economy comprise 99.5% of business establishments in the country and provide employment to almost 70% of the country’s workforce. They are struggling, hoping to see the recovery through the various supports they can receive.

The desire to strike the perfect balance between lives and livelihood, is a challenge and with more than 50 percent of the MSMEs have closed down, then reopened again on a downsized scale. With the advent of COVID-19 Delta variant virus, the imminent ECQ is another setback to the MSMEs considering that it is only now that the momentum of the business is gaining ground.

Much as it tries, the government is still struggling to enforce policies which are evident by their “spin-a-wheel” type of quarantine decision-making and the much delayed and highly politicized vaccination program that still far away from the ideal herd immunity remains farfetched.

As the pandemic continues to disrupt the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector, Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) identified the urgent need for more attention, care, and rejuvenation to help these businesses overcome the challenges they currently face. As the best banking partner of MSMEs across the country, UnionBank created a one-stop hub that will enable MSMEs to do business with ease remotely, helping them to manage cash flows, get access to financing, and utilize an all-in-one payment facility.

Following the launch of the MSME Business Banking App in January 2021, UnionBank continues its commitment to uplift the business of MSMEs all over the country. With its latest product offering, UPAY, an all-in-one payment acceptance hub, UnionBank completes its portfolio of comprehensive products and services catering to the banking needs of the MSME sector.

“Our main purpose is to empower MSMEs to uplift their businesses and enable inclusive prosperity by extending products that go beyond traditional banking services,” said UnionBank’s Vice President and SME Segment Head Jaypee Soliman. “We also believe that in order to achieve this, our organization had to shift and pivot as well by educating them on the use of concrete solutions that will help keep their businesses afloat in the now normal.”

Next level experience with MSME Business Banking Hub

The all-new UnionBank offering, UPAY, allows business owners to conveniently collect payments by simply sending a link that contains the amount that needs to be paid. They can also pay through various payment channels including Instapay and UB Online, as well as over the counter with partnered branches such as 7-11 and ECPay outlets. This allows them to skip through the hassle of having to give their bank details, total amount, and manually typing the description of the order and sending it to customers through a messaging app.

With the addition of UPAY, UnionBank builds on its robust MSME platform that caters to MSMEs and their every need. Unionbank GlobalLinker (UBGL) allows them to build their online store profile and promote their products. UBGL also allows them to connect with fellow business owners, get tips from successful entrepreneurs through workshops and events, and find access to market trends, industry updates and shared experiences of other businesses.

Another is the MSME Business Banking App, a single platform that lets MSMEs access and manage finance-related needs including digital account opening, paying bills, deposit checks online, and pay the supplier and government-related dues. SeekCap is also a platform where business loans and supply chain financing are easily accessible to Filipino business owners for credits and payments, 24/7.

A partner for growth and business success

With the MSME Business Banking Hub, UnionBank aims to continue to reach out to the country’s one million registered enterprises and 12 million self-employed micro-entrepreneurs to help empower them further as they embark on their journey to recovery. With the addition of UPAY, the transition from pre-pandemic brick and mortar to fully digital business is now possible alongside UBGL, MSME Business Banking App, and SeekCap which are designed to be tailor-fitted for every MSME. 

“MSMEs are the backbone of the Philippine economy and their success is crucial especially amid challenging instances like the current pandemic,” said Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Inclusive Executive Chut Santiago. “That being said, we want to make sure that every MSME goes to us for their digital and financial needs because we believe that we always come prepared with the right solution and answer for them when they do.”