BANK of the Philippine Islands is ramping up its digital services.

BANK OF THE Philippine Islands (BPI) has boosted its digital ecosystem by sealing partnerships for open banking and allowing more services to be accessible through its mobile app and online banking, as well as its pilot of a conversational banking app.

The said initiatives came amid the growing number of their bank clients that have been going mobile, with 42% of them or 3.2 million out of 8.5 million account users doing online banking, BPI officials said Tuesday in a media briefing held in Makati.

With the added features to their online banking service, the lender targets to see 50% of their customer base to go online, BPI Chief Operating Officer Ramon L. Jocson told members of the media.

“It has taken us three to four years to do this journey,” Mr. Jocson added.

Among BPI’s partners are GCash, Lazada and PayMaya, beep Card, AutoSweep, and EasyTrip RFID. With the tie-ups, BPI online banking users will be able to load their e-wallets through their BPI app.

Meanwhile, bank users can also download the BPI Express Assist (BEA) app to access the lender’s conversational bank app, which processes requests such as cash transfers and balance inquiry, among others, through voice or in-text commands.

Amid the bank’s digital transformation, Mr. Jocson said that their customers can be assured that their cybersecurity is taken cared of.

“We track around 22,000 events per second [in our cybersecurity center]. [This includes] when you access your app, when you access the ATM and so forth…,” he said.

Mr. Jocson however said 50% of BPI’s clients still prefer to do traditional banking, so the bank’s approach is to do both high-tech and high touch.

“There will always be people who won’t go online. We need to make sure that there are people in the branches equipped to have high value discussions with you.” Mr. Jocson said.

BPI President and Chief Executive Officer Cezar P. Consing told reporters last week that the bank utilizes seven to eight percent of their revenues per year on technology.

“Two-thirds is spent on running the bank and one third of the technology spending is on building [technology],” Mr. Consing said.

BPI’s net income in the third quarter climbed 38.6% year-on-year to P8.29 billion. This brought its bottom line for the January to September period to P22.03 billion, climbing 29.5% from the P17.01 billion seen the previous year.

The Ayala-led lender’s shares rose 0.05% to close at P99.05 on Tuesday. — Luz Wendy T. Noble