UnionBank secures first digital banking license

Following an announcement made last week, the Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) set a significant record by becoming the first publicly traded, conventional bank to obtain a digital banking license issued by the Philippines’ apex bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). 

The digital bank, which will operate as an independent fully-owned subsidiary of Union Bank, will be incorporated as Union Digital Bank (UnionDigital).

The Philippines is now making the necessary strides to catch up with the digital banking trend, which is becoming mainstream in Southeast Asia. Like in other parts of the world, traditional banks are realizing that investing in digital and innovative banking solutions is a smarter way to gain a stand in the race towards the future. 

The slower pace of adoption in the Philippines is a reflection of how much time it is taking the financial sector and regulators in some societies to move from fighting the disruption to joining it and creating an enabling environment for it.

Also, the growing interest in e-commerce amongst tech-savvy Filipinos has drawn greater attention to digital payment solutions, mandating forward-thinking stakeholders to develop innovative offerings to meet the growing demands.

In a statement on the subject, the BSP said it has “long recognized the role of digital platforms in affording greater efficiency in the delivery of financial services and products.” 

Adding that The Digital Banking Framework is “an integral building block in promoting and enabling regulatory environment that fosters responsible innovation, promotes cyber resilience and contributes towards advancing the digitalization of the financial sector.”

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