UBX, the leading open finance platform in the Philippines, revealed during The Asian Banker Finance Philippines 2022 that providing a human touch to technical solutions is the secret behind the success of its commitment to #IncludeEveryone in the digitization of finance.
The Asian Banker Finance Philippines 2022 is the leading annual conference for fostering sustainable innovation not only among financial institutions but also among disruptors and related players. This year, digital transformation takes the center stage in the programme as banks, financial institutions, fintech and large technology companies discuss the future of the industry in the country.
“UBX was born out of the digital movement of Union Bank in 2018. At the time, what was noted was that digital platforms were acquiring customers and this demanded a certain type of skill. Investment in developing platforms was a must and so #IncludeEveryone came from this,” said Iris Yacat, Chief Operations Officer and Chief Customer Experience Officer of UBX.
UBX’s open finance platform also allows its partners to connect financial institutions to the largest payment networks in the Philippines. While it offers technological end-to-end solutions to individuals and businesses of all shapes and sizes, the reality remains that the digital divide in the country has rendered some of them hesitant to take the leap.
Yacat explained that it is important to model the platform from different perspectives: the customers and the businesses.
“At the individual level, we definitely use human centered design principles and simple language as the customer onboards and creates the account themselves. For the corporate side, the challenge is how to invite them over to our ecosystem. To quote our CEO, sometimes you have to do non-digital and non-scaleable things, to bring them to scale,” she said.
Hence, UBX is not satisfied with being just a digital finance platform, but it goes beyond its mandate by offering services, training, process review, developments to clients to help them understand how the system works.
One example of UBX’s groundbreaking innovations is AKIN, an open ecosystem which provides individuals with more control over their personal information, allowing them to transact freely and securely through one digital identity. At the core of AKIN’s operations is the concept of self sovereign identity (SSI), which empowers users to manage their own information and decide who gets access, anytime, anywhere. On the flip side, there is the ability to create an identity for the corporation and control data access as well through the know-your-customer (KYC) process.
Part of the customer-centric approach, according to Yacat, is understanding where users are coming from. In the age of information, data security is the primary concern of both corporations and individuals.
“Data is key for us in the success of the product because trust in the system is very important in open finance. How do you build trust in the system to verify if there is a real person behind the application to open an account?” Yacat posited. She further explained that UBX has a data privacy officer to make sure they are compliant with the latest rules and regulations.
The recent policy of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Open Finance has posed a challenge to banks and financial institutions to up their game when it comes to customer confidentiality. Now more than ever, major financial service providers are required to cooperate with each other and the public sector to achieve this goal.
Among the other key points discussed in the conference are the psychological and cultural changes brought about by the digital transformation of banks, the risks and advantages of decentralized finance (DeFi), and the regulation of the digital market in the ASEAN region.
“It is an honor to be alongside the biggest players in the industry, all like minded individuals and institutions who are just as committed to financial inclusion as UBX. More than giving us an opportunity to share our milestones and discoveries, it was truly an enlightening experience to participate in the discussions on the trends that are shaping the landscape of digital finance in the Philippines,” said UBX President and CEO John Januszczak.