RCBC innovation head to push ‘sachet banking’

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By Karl Angelo N. Vidal, Reporter

FORMER financial technology (fintech) firm head and now Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) Chief Innovation and Inclusion Officer Angelito “Lito” M. Villanueva eyes to continue his “sachet banking” push to include more unbanked Filipinos into the formal financial system.

In an interview, Mr. Villanueva said the Yuchengco-led lender will aggressively pursue banking services that will cater to market segments with deficient financial access.

“In RCBC, I will continue my sachet banking push. The priority is to roll out an integrated and inclusive digital finance products and services for the unbanked and undeserved,” Mr. Villanueva told BusinessWorld in a phone message on Wednesday.

With the intent of transitioning the unbanked to fully banked individuals, Mr. Villanueva said the initiative will cover the creation of basic deposit accounts with microinsurance coverage nationwide.


This would allow new-to-bank clients to establish a credit profile, exposing them to other banking products such as lending and investments.

“We will review, rationalize, and optimize all digital assets to promote omni-channel customer access,” he added, noting that the thrust will also cover key sectors such as small and medium enterprises as well as agriculture.

According to the latest Financial Inclusion Survey conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in 2017, only 22.6% or some 15.8 million Filipino adults maintain formal bank accounts, citing lack of money and lack of need to have an account as the main reasons.

Mr. Villanueva took the post of innovation and inclusion head of RCBC effective May 1, months after leaving his managing director post at FINTQnologies Corp., the fintech arm of PLDT Group’s Voyager Innovations, Inc.

During his stint at FINTQ, he advocated for the “sachet banking” model, providing unbanked and underserved Filipinos access to financial services such as savings, loans, insurance and investments for as low as P20 through mobile and online channels.

Mr. Villanueva concurrently holds the position of chief digital transformation adviser for the entire Yuchengco Group of Companies — an appointment which took effect last April 22.

“The first order of the day is on how to accelerate the pace and impact of digital transformation across all businesses of the conglomerate,” Mr. Villanueva said. “This will be done by driving change towards creating a delightful customer experience and delivering enabling strategies and inclusive digital solutions achieving hyper-growth.”

“As digital technologies are fast reshaping all industries, Lito’s onboarding is a welcome development to the group as we all need to embrace these disruptions to compete and future-proof our businesses,” said Helen Y. Dee, RCBC and Yuchengco conglomerate chairperson.

Mr. Villanueva’s career spans two decades, previously holding key roles in Visa, the Economist Intelligence Unit and International Finance Corp. He is also the founding chairperson of Fintech Alliance Philippines, an industry group representing more than a third of the country’s registered fintech companies.

RCBC booked a steady net income of P4.3 billion in 2018, supported by increased lending across all segments.

RCBC shares stood at P26 apiece on Tuesday, up 40 centavos or 1.56% from the previous close.