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BPI looks to ramp up digitalization efforts

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PHILSTAR

BANK OF THE Philippine Islands (BPI) is ramping up efforts to digitize its processes and services to support rapid growth and promote financial inclusion.

In a statement, BPI President and Chief Executive Officer Cezar P. Consing said the lender wants to ramp up its digitalization efforts to enable more convenient and efficient way of banking for its clients.

“It’s about shaping and creating a whole new experience for our customers through digitalization, offering them a better, safer, more convenient way to bank with us,” Mr. Consing was quoted as saying in the statement.

He added that harnessing digitalization supports the National Retail Payment System (NRPS) initiative of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) which involves policies and standards for a “cash-lite” economy.

The BSP’s NRPS initiative, launched in 2015, aims to get more Filipinos included into the formal financial system.

The move intends to steer financial transactions gradually away from cash and checks toward electronic fund transfers.




“[A]utomating and digitalizing our transactions is critical to our ability to scale up our operations,” BPI Enterprise Services Head Ramon L. Jocson said. “We are investing in technology so we can serve our clients well.”

Mr. Consing said the lender’s continued digitalization efforts will expand its network of automatic teller machines (ATMs) and cash acceptance machines (CAMs), and will also enhance its digital channels through its Web site and mobile application.

According to BPI, around 36% of its customers access the bank through digital means such as its Web site and mobile app. This percentage grows to 66% if self-service ATMs and CAMs are included.

“Many of our clients have come to embrace technology because of the convenience, safety and reliability it offers,” Mr. Jocson noted.

“The proliferation of smartphones has also stimulated innovation, allowing our customers to save time through a wide array of transactions they can do anytime and anywhere,” he added.

Despite its efforts to enhance and promote digital banking, Mr. Jocson noted the Ayala-led lender is not veering away from its brick and mortar branches as these will continue to “enable for more meaningful interactions that address the financial needs of clients.”

In April, BPI raised P50 billion through a stock rights offer, selling 558.7 million common shares priced at P89.50 apiece.

Proceeds from the fund-raising activity will be used to finance its digital thrust, expand its retail loan portfolio and put up more branches.

BPI, the third-largest bank in the country in asset terms, booked a net income of P6.25 billion last quarter, flat from the profit posted in the same period last year, due to lower trading gains.

Shares in BPI dropped P2.80 or 2.84% to P95.85 apiece on Thursday. — K.A.N. Vidal

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