TO do more than banking industry norms and provide clients with new and better—maybe even unconventional and innovative—solutions to their problems is part of Union Bank of the Philippines’ (UnionBank) core strategy for success.
UnionBank is among the top commercial banks in the country.
For years, the bank has been a leading solutions provider for its clients’ banking needs. And for a number of years, it has been collecting awards for its innovative solutions.
Among these has been the Trail Blazer Award for Strategic Excellence in Financial Inclusion for Mobile Money given by Banks and Payments Asia in 2013. UnionBank also bagged the Smart Card Awards Asia in Singapore for its ICTSI Community Card.
UnionBank has been breaking the conventional approach to banking for years now. Some of the innovative contributions that the bank has made in banking industry are the GSSIS E-card, the G-cash payment system with Globe telecom and the EON card, the first no-minimum-balance account in the country.
“We are the first bank to introduce internet banking the Philippines,” said incoming UnionBank President Edwin R. Bautista.
So what else sets UnionBank apart from all the other banks?
Bautista said UnionBank’s employees have more expertise than their counterparts.
In an interview with The Manila Times, Bautista said the first step in assuring clients that the bank is able to provide expert service begins at the employment process. He stressed that hiring professionals with adequate “expertise” in the position they are applying for is a must.
Several award-giving bodies have recognized UnionBank for its excellence in its employment system. Some of the recognitions that the bank received are the Asian Banker Best Employee Engagement Award for 2015 and the only Philippine recipient of the Asia’s Best Employer Brand Award hosted by the World HRD Congress, Employer Branding Institute-India, and Stars of the Industry Group.
Although the bank has received a lot of recognition for its employment management system, this does not necessarily mean that it has a big number of employees. On the contrary, the bank has even one of the smallest employment size in the country.
“We have the smallest size of employees in the industry because our approach is expertise,” said Bautista.
He explained that “expertise” is a part of the bank’s “REaCH” core strategy, which stands for “Relevant, Expert, and Challenging Conventions.”
The incoming bank president said they make it a point to be relevant to their clients as customer centricity is important to them. He stressed that banking is really about people and UnionBank promises clients to be “always relevant to you.”
“So our promise is, if you deal with us, you should feel that we are different from the other banks because number one, we truly understand you and your needs; second, we are experts in that particular field, and (three), we are willing to break the usual mold and convention to be able to serve you and provide you with the best service,” he said.
In line with the bank’s advocacy for inclusive innovation and equal financial growth opportunities for Filipinos, UnionBank provides innovative business and banking solutions, such as its e-commerce portals and facilities for online banking transactions.
UnionBank empowers small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by exposing them to the vast potential of e-commerce. With this, UnionBank helps Filipino entrepreneurs grow their businesses by reaching more customers and making transactions more convenient through the e-payment option.
Bautista said it is in UnionBank’s DNA to challenge the conventional approach of banking and that when clients come with a particular problem, the bank’s officers respond by designing a solution around that problem.
“We guarantee that our approach is not the conventional banking approach,” said Bautista.
He said UnionBank enjoys receiving more complicated challenges from its clients.
“The more difficult the problem, the better,” said Bautista. “We like the challenge and solving it.”
When asked why it is so important to the bank to challenge the norm in the banking industry, Bautista answered: “If we don’t challenge the convention, the most we can do is to grow at the same rate as the other banks.”
UnionBank currently ranks number eight among the top commercial banks in the country. To achieve its goal of being among the top three, Bautista said the bank must challenge the conventional banking approach by introducing innovative ways to banking.
“If there’s something new, we want to be the first bank to do it,” he said.
BY CATHERINE TALAVERA