Bankers team up to develop digital ID

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The Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) has collaborated with a technology and consulting company in establishing an industry-wide facility that will further enhance the country’s digital-identity technology.

In a statement on Friday, the bankers group said it has upped the ante of digitization in Philippine banking as it convened with Amihan Global Strategies over a project that is set to revolutionize validation processes in the banking industry.

With this, the Philippines is said to be one of the first few countries in the world to employ a powerful and sophisticated technology for identity management, the association added.

“We are committed to pursuing the Philippine banking roadmap we have crafted with the support of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). This initiative will enable the banking industry to provide a more convenient and faster way of delivering banking services to the clients,” BAP President Nestor Tan said


“With the rapid development of technology on our side, banks must use this opportunity to constantly improve, innovate and provide better services to the banking public,” BAP Operations Committee Chairman Abraham Co said.

Centered on “self-sovereign identity,” BAP said the facility would enable an individual to have the sole control and discretion of sharing his or her personal information to whoever he or she chooses.

Using this platform, the onboarding process of clients will become easier and more efficient, as the individuals themselves, through participating banks and accredited agents, would be able to upload personal information immediately through mobile phones.

Once the uploaded information is validated and vetted by a participating bank, clients will be able to open a new bank account and access banking services of other participating banks in a much faster and easier way, the association said.

The facility is powered by blockchain technology, which enables a permanent and distributed ledger of transactions that cannot be tampered with.

“We welcome this development for the Philippines. The BAP joins a global movement to benefit consumers using blockchain technology,” said Brian Behlendorf, executive director of Hyperledger.

“We’re proud that the banking community is using open source software from Hyperledger technology to enrich data privacy and finance,” he added.

BAP said that, while the project is still in development, several major banks, including Asia United Bank (AUB), Banco de Oro Unibank (BDO), Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), Citibank, EastWest Bank, Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. (Metrobank) and Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) have already signed on to accept and verify customer data on the platform.

Other banks are soon expected to follow.

The group said that, as of 2017, there are only 44 million out of 100 million Filipinos who deposit money into bank accounts.

However, with the Philippines’ rapid growth of the economy and influx of digital technology, it should be noted that more and more Filipinos will expect to have easier access to financial services, according to BAP.

“Digital is the best solution for financial inclusion in the Philippines,” said Winston Damarillo, founder and executive chairman of Amihan Global Strategies.

“We are excited to collaborate with Hyperledger and the BAP to deliver inclusive innovation for the Philippines,” he added.

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