- UnionBank builds Phl banking’s largest API Developer Portal in just 3 years
- Close to 500 million API calls projected for 2019
- One of the biggest API Portal in Southeast Asia
In just three years, together with the start of its digital transformation, Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) now has the largest Application Programming Interface (API) Developer Portal among Philippine banks, with over 600 APIs.
This total also makes UnionBank’s API Portal one of the biggest in Southeast Asia, in the company of powerhouse multinational banks.
UnionBank was also the first local bank in the country to expose its APIs externally in 2016, when it organized its first “Hackathon.”
UnionBank’s APIs cover the bank’s various capabilities like bills payment, funds transfer, inquiries, authentication and other functions that are exposed for public consumption.
The API Developer Portal, meanwhile, is the interface between UnionBank’s full set of APIs and their various developer stakeholders, particularly Fintechs who develop new technology to extend financial services to the masses and are connected in “one go.”
Importantly, this constantly expanding API portal has already generated P3 Billion worth of transactions to date, from both corporate and individual customers.
Translated in terms of API calls, the API Portal is averaging around 40 million calls per month, or close to half a billion calls per year, and continues to grow rapidly.
The “Netflix of APIs”
The current entities that are already connected and consuming UnionBank’s APIs belong to a wide range of business communities – SMEs and enterprise, local and multinational, traditional and digital – everyone can API.
Given the sheer variety of APIs in UnionBank’s portal plus the huge volume of transactions, this is now quickly becoming the “Netflix of APIs”, referring to the very popular American company offering subscription-based streaming service of videos and movies.
Chief Information Officer Dennis Omila said, “UnionBank aspires not only to expose its own capabilities but also those of its clients and partners.
Today, there are numerous partner APIs that are also exposed in the Developer Portal together with UnionBank’s own banking APIs.”
“The goal is that once you go to our site (developer.unionbankph.com), you will see all the APIs that you will need, and not just banking,” Omila said.
Over this relatively short period, UnionBank’s API platform has already garnered numerous awards and recognitions, both here and abroad.
On the domestic front, these awards include the Top PESONet Volume Contributor by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas because of its API management platform. Internationally, the bank received the Most Innovative Core System Project from The Asset Triple A Digital Awards 2018 and the Core Banking Initiative of the Year from the Asian Banking and Finance Retail Banking Awards 2019, among others.
In an interview with Asian Banking and Finance (ABF) last year, UnionBank President and CEO Edwin Bautista said while the numbers constantly change, he is very excited in the development of the bank’s API platform, which is a crucial element of its digital transformation.
“This is key in establishing quick connectivity, not only within our internal systems, but as well as with customers and other external partners,” Bautista told ABF. “Internally the API platform has been instrumental in the enhancement and replication of features for our convergent banking application, The ARK, Rafa and EON.”
Bautista said through the API, these channels are able to get information across various back-end systems to address transactions and queries real-time.
“Development for external parties is likewise faster since we do not have to repeat the onboarding up to testing process for new connections,” he said.
Together with its policy of keeping their API platform open to as many stakeholders and fintechs as possible, UnionBank hopes this will be another tool in its “twin-quest” to “tech up” the Philippines and enable inclusive prosperity.