UnionBank’s Project i2i Earns BSP Approval; First and Only PH Banking Blockchain Platform Approved By BSP

  • Project i2i or “Island-to-Island, Institution-to-Institution, Individual-to-Individual” is a project launched by UnionBank in late 2018 that aims to improve the banking experience for customers of banks in rural communities, by providing these small banks a secure and cost-effective way to connect to universal banking, which can be expensive otherwise.
  • UnionBank became the first and only bank in the Philippines to be tapped as a partner by VISA for the latter’s blockchain-based payment platform B2B Connect, a service that streamlines cross-country payments and makes them more secure.
  • UnionBank senior executive vice president Henry Aguda assured that the project will be for the long-term, with more partnerships planned in the next few years.

Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) recently earned the approval of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to fully implement its Project i2i, enabling the bank to make universal banking accessible to more Filipinos. This solidifies UnionBank’s position as a digital trailblazer in the local banking and finance industries and is a testament to its commitment to enabling inclusive prosperity in the country through technology.

Project i2i or “Island-to-Island, Institution-to-Institution, Individual-to-Individual” is a project launched by UnionBank in late 2018 that aims to improve the banking experience for customers of banks in rural communities, by providing these small banks a secure and cost-effective way to connect to universal banking, which can be expensive otherwise.

Since then, the bank has been partnering with rural banks in different parts of the country, allowing these banks’ customers access to more banking services. As of February 25, 2019, the bank has successfully on-boarded more than 100 rural banks, with more partnerships slated for the rest of the year.

UnionBank senior executive vice president Henry Aguda, who is also the bank’s chief transformation officer and chief technology and operations officer, expressed gratitude for the BSP’s continued support for finance technology (fintech) initiatives, saying it enables an environment that is conducive to innovation and collaboration among different stakeholders.

“The BSP has always been open-minded and supportive of fintech solutions, especially those that are based on blockchain, which is something we at UnionBank are really thankful for. This encourages not only the bank but other stakeholders in banking and finance to think outside-the-box and work together in creating solutions to issues that affect Filipinos, especially those who are underserved,” Aguda said.

Blockchain is an emerging technology that is starting to take over data-reliant industries across the world, promising better security, efficiency, and transparency by decentralizing data processing and management.

UnionBank began experimenting with blockchain technology in 2018. Last year, UnionBank became the first and only bank in the Philippines to be tapped as a partner by VISA for the latter’s blockchain-based payment platform B2B Connect, a service that streamlines cross-country payments and makes them more secure. In the same year, UnionBank began integrating blockchain in its processes, which made the bank’s internal workflows, and in turn the delivery of services, more efficient, another first among local banks.

In 2018, the bank also took the lead in establishing the Blockchain Association of the Philippines, whose end goal is to help stakeholders understand what blockchain technology is and how it can provide cost-effective solutions to problems and challenges encountered across a wide range of industries.

Aguda assured that the project will be for the long-term, with more partnerships planned in the next few years.

“UnionBank remains strongly committed to connecting islands, institutions, and individuals through robust technology, which is why we don’t want to rest on our laurels,” Aguda said. “We’ll continue working on bringing this technology to more banks all over the country as we enjoin them in our goal of enabling inclusive prosperity for everyone.

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Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas3 BSP4 project i2i1 UnionBank14