Bankers association looks to launch digital ID registry within the year

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THE BANKERS ASSOCIATION of the Philippines (BAP) is aiming to launch the digital banking identification (ID) registry within the year in a bid to further financial inclusion.

In a statement on Tuesday, BAP President Cezar P. Consing said the association is looking forward to launch this year its digital banking ID registry, which is expected to make it easier for clients to avail of banking services with member-banks.

The ID registry allows data storage and exchange among member-banks, setting the foundation for electronic know-your-customer procedures and future use cases.

The facility will be powered by blockchain technology to vet transactions and client identity.

Blockchain is a distributed data ledger which involves a large network of entities where data is stored in “blocks.” The storage units are continuously updated and secured using cryptography, making data management and data-driven processes decentralized, tamper-proof and more transparent.

“Several of the BAP member-banks are already developing the systems to be able to interface with the ID registry,” the association said.

“The Philippine banking industry is transforming itself so as to continue to be relevant to one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Digitalization, cybersecurity, and financial liberalization are issues foremost on bankers’ minds,” Mr. Consing said during the BAP annual membership meeting held on Monday. “The overall objective is increasing financial inclusion — the imperative of our times.”

Mr. Consing, who is also the president and chief executive officer of Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands, was elected yesterday to take the helm of BAP, replacing BDO Unibank, Inc. President Nestor V. Tan who held the position for three years.

“I will build on Nestor’s considerable accomplishments. We want the Philippine banking industry to be accessible to every Filipino,” added Mr. Consing.

Under the leadership of Mr. Tan in 2018, the BAP converted the fixed income exchange to an over-the-counter market, favored PHP Bloomberg Valuation Service as benchmarks for local government securities, and pushed to streamline regulatory requirements for banks’ bond issuances, among others.

Looking ahead, Mr. Consing said the BAP will push for cybersecurity measures and focus on environmental, social and governance projects.

The BAP is the lead organization of universal and commercial banks in the country, consisting of 42 member banks, 21 of which are local banks and 21 are foreign bank branches. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal