RCBC CREDIT CARD, the credit card arm of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) and formerly named RCBC Bankard, expects double-digit growth in loan disbursements this year as rising interest rates will not significantly affect demand.

RCBC Bankard Services Corp. President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)Arniel Vincent B. Ong said they expect to continue breaking records in the credit card industry.

“I expect to continue ending the year with a full-year number of probably 50% in transaction volume growth. We’re going to hit more than 900,000 credit cards in the market. And we will likely hit about 45 billion in total balances which is close to 30% growth in our total portfolio,” Mr. Ong told BusinessWorld on the sidelines of their recent rebranding event.

“So, it’s looking really good for our business. And again, a lot of that is tied into going back to how we understand customers and how we match what they need,” he added.

During the rebranding event, Mr. Ong said the bank has posted a 57% annual growth in issuing billings compared with the same period last year.   

“Key to that is really repositioning ourselves and understanding our customers really well. The customer behavior has been changing the last two and a half years since the pandemic started. We use data science and analytics to understand customers,” he said.

Mr. Ong said transaction growth has been tied to personalizing product offers to match changing customer behaviors amid the current digital environment.

“We’ve been investing a lot on enhancing our mobile app. Our mobile app today, RCBC digital app, it’s one of the most packed mobile apps out there for the market,” he said.

In particular, clients are enjoying the bank’s easy installment options that allows customers to convert transactions into installments. The bank has also recently launched UnliPay, in which clients can pay any bank using their RCBC credit card via their mobile app.

“That’s why customer adoption has been very strong. So, like I said, close to 50% of active customers today are already using the app,” Mr. Ong said.

When asked about the impact of rising interest rates amid elevated inflation  on credit demand, Mr. Ong said RCBC Credit Card does not expect this to dent demand, especially with the upcoming holiday season. The central bank has raised rates by 225 basis points so far since May.

“We still feel that there’s a lot of consumption out there that’s waiting to happen — pent-up demand, especially from our more mass affluent and affluent customers,” he said.

“In fact, month on month, we continue to see growth in our transaction volumes which is good. So, we’re really seeing customers continue to use their credit cards despite the current environment,” Mr. Ong added.

He noted that the credit card arm also offers budget tools for its clients to help them manage their funds amid rising inflation.

Meanwhile, RCBC and RCBC Bankard Services Corp. announced that RCBC Bankard will now be called RCBC Credit Card. The rebranded credit card is being issued by RCBC and is being managed by RCBC Bankard Services Corp. (RBSC).   

The new name, according to RBSC Vice-President and Marketing Group Head Ma. Angela C. Mirasol, is meant to strengthen the RCBC Credit Card brand.

“As we restart our lives, it’s only fitting to rebrand our credit card to suit the new needs of our customers. The RCBC Credit Card is both a financial service and a lifestyle tool that will help our cardholders live the life they want and the chance to enjoy unlimited experiences,” RCBC President and CEO Eugene S. Acevedo said.

“If there is one thing that the pandemic has taught us, it is to have a zest for life. For the past two years, everything was at a standstill. But now, we have a chance to jumpstart our lives and live life to the fullest. It’s time for us to Live Life Unlimited. The RCBC Credit Card, together with the RCBC Digital app, will help our cardholders to do just that,” Ms. Mirasol said.

The lender’s consolidated net income rose by 84% year on year to P6.14 billion in the January to June period. This translated to a return on equity of 9.5%, while return on assets was at 1.1%. — Keisha B. Ta-asan