THE DIGITAL LENDER of UnionBank of the Philippines, Inc. has received regulatory approval for its incorporation, keeping it on track to meet is targeted 2022 launch.

UnionBank has received the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) approval for the articles of incorporation and by-laws of UnionDigital Bank, Inc. on Nov. 25, it said in a filing with the local bourse.

UnionBank Executive Vice-President and Chief Mass Market and Financial Inclusion Executive Manuel G. Santiago, Jr. earlier said UnionDigital is expected to start operating by the second quarter of 2022.

UnionBank earlier said its digital banking subsidiary will extend services to the unbanked and underbanked.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in July granted UnionBank a license to operate a digital lender, making it one of six entities that were granted permits.

The others that secured digital bank licenses were state-owned Overseas Filipino Bank or OFBank, Tonik Digital Bank, Inc. (Philippines), UNObank, GOtyme, which is owned by the Gokongwei Group and Singapore fintech firm Tyme, and PayMaya Philippines, which will operate Maya Bank.

Digital banks are expected to help the BSP reach its goals to bring 50% of Filipino adults into the banked population and have 50% of all transactions done online.

UnionDigital’s parent UnionBank recorded a higher net profit in the first nine months of the year as earnings from its core businesses improved and as its loan loss provisions declined.

The bank’s net profit improved by 26% year on year to P10.71 billion at end-September from P8.482 billion in the same period a year ago.

UnionBank’s shares closed at P107 apiece on Monday, down by 50 centavos or 0.47% from its previous finish. — LWTN