UBX leads open finance revolution with BSP

Manila, Philippines – UBX, the fintech venture studio and fund spun out of UnionBank of the Philippines, responds to the BSP’s drive for financial inclusion, promoting the adoption of innovative services through its first-in-industry platforms in eCommerce, lending, payments and now, in open finance.

Financial inclusion has become a policy objective of the government to further economic growth and reduce poverty especially for the most vulnerable sections in the country. However, gaps in creating a wholly inclusive ecosystem that connects all Filipinos to formal financial institutions still remain a challenge. 

During the 2021 European-Philippine Business Summit, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno shared the importance of open finance as a tool in closing the gap. The BSP-approved open finance framework allows “consent-driven data portability, interoperability, and collaborative partnerships among financial institutions and third-party providers (TPPs)” to enable industry players to provide customer-centric products and better access to key financial services such as lending and insurance. 

UBX has been complimenting the open finance framework ever since its incorporation in 2018: “UBX allows smaller players to leapfrog across the scaling-gap to get them to a technology level that can place them, in some aspects, at par with the bigger players. UBX connects hundreds of smaller financial institutions to NRPS through our banking-as-a-service venture i2i and we can leverage this established reach to include the long tail of the financial services ecosystem in open finance. We include everyone: smaller FIs, non-banks, other service providers and their customers in the innovation promised by open finance.” shared John Januszczak, President and CEO of UBX. 

UBX heads new committee on open finance and financial inclusion

The Special Committee on Open Finance and Financial Inclusion (SCOFFI), formed by the ECCP with UBX, will bring together policymakers and industry players to help advance BSP’s agenda. This will serve as the space for stakeholders to discuss relevant issues and spearhead actionable solutions that will shape the country’s policy environment and improve financial inclusion through technology. UBX, recognized by the Global Banking and Finance Review as the Fastest Growing Fintech Company in Southeast Asia for 2020 and 2021, is leading the new committee. 

“In establishing the open finance ecosystem, a single body to oversee the efforts is necessary. As such, the open finance oversight committee is being constituted to perform this function. The committee shall formulate open finance standards and procedures.” BSP Governor Diokno announced.

UBX launches open finance platform, Xpanse

To further drive the momentum, UBX launches Xpanse, the newest addition to the fintech arm’s portfolio of first-in-industry ventures. Xpanse enables banks, fintechs and startups to build new financial solutions through APIs and customer controlled data sharing across hundreds of member institutions in the Philippines.

“UBX’s open finance infrastructure opens UBX’s aggregation of financial solutions and service providers to developers. Xpanse will not just connect developers to programmable services across hundreds of financial institutions in the Philippines, it will also connect customers and traditional financial markets to the world’s most innovative financial operating system and the future of banking.” shared John Januszczak, President and CEO of UBX

About UBX – UBX is the financial technology venture studio and fund of UnionBank of the Philippines. UBX is predicated on a future where financial services are invisible: seamlessly embedded into the experiences and activities that truly matter to businesses and people. For partnerships, email us at partnerships@xpanse.fi

For more information about the company and this article, please visit www.ubx.ph 

Contact:

Agnes D. Casal

Public Relations and Events 

UBX Philippines Corporationagnescasal@ubx.ph.

Unionbank’s fintech arm UBX to launch new open finance platform – xpanse

Xpanse onboards Alibaba Cloud as first partner
Xpanse onboards Alibaba Cloud as first partner

Closing large gaps in financial inclusion and MSME development in the Philippines has urged regulators to establish reforms such as open finance. In the simplest definition, open finance enables financial institutions to share data with each other through APIs and white-label products. The lack of access to consumer financial data handicaps financial institutions in providing key financial services such as lending and insurance causing the country’s large unbanked population to remain underserved. Open finance helps solve and alleviate this significant barrier to progression and inclusion. 

Last June 2021, Bangko Sentral Pilipinas (BSP) approved the new guidelines for the Open Finance Framework, allowing “consent-driven data portability, interoperability, and collaborative partnerships among financial institutions and third-party providers (TPPs).” 

Not just any open finance player

UBX, the fintech subsidiary of UnionBank of the Philippines, has already established its open finance footprint since 2018 with i2i – the country’s widest financial network and banking-as-a-service solution for financial service providers nationwide, boasting of hundreds of member institutions and thousands of agents to date.

Driving the momentum is xpanse, the newest addition to UBX’s portfolio of first-in-industry ventures – further solidifying UBX’s overall leadership in open finance. The xpanse platform provides a comprehensive suite of data, insights and solutions through direct APIs. Banks, fintechs and startups will be able to assess customers’ eligibility for products and services much faster and build highly-personalized products that are relevant to consumers with just a few lines of code. 

xpanse onboards Alibaba Cloud as first partner

Alibaba Cloud has partnered with xpanse to provide eKYC solutions to businesses. Alibaba Cloud provides Zoloz eKYC(Electronic Know Your Customer) solution to boost efficiency, reinforce system security by digitalizing the identity verification process of financial institutions and ventures. With Zoloz now in xpanse, developers can easily integrate cutting-edge eKYC technology towards their products and services through a single API integration.  This e-wallet security technology helps financial institutions meet regulatory compliance more easily.

“Alibaba Cloud shares UBX’s mission of enabling a financially inclusive society through accessible financial services, especially in the new normal. We believe our proven technologies in the e-wallet industry could assist UBX in promoting financial inclusion and equipping financial institutions in the Philippines with advanced solutions that operate seamlessly and reliably for end users,” said Allen Guo, Country Manager for the Philippines, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence. 

Gearing up for the future

As xpanse builds the biggest open finance platform and community in the Philippines, the team is actively networking with multiple partners across different sectors. 

“Open Finance is significantly changing the way financial institutions interact with each other and their customers. xpanse opens more transformational opportunities for these institutions to evolve their business through our already proven expertise in open finance and financial technology. The future of finance is here as xpanse pioneers services that will not only impact inclusion for Filipinos to formal banking and financing but also provide startups, financial institutions a way to use data for innovations and development.” shared John Januszczak, President and CEO of UBX

About UBX – UBX is the financial technology venture studio and fund of UnionBank of the Philippines. UBX is predicated on a future where financial services are invisible: seamlessly embedded into the experiences and activities that truly matter to businesses and people.For partnerships, email us at partnerships@xpanse.fi. For more information about the company and this article, please visit www.ubx.ph or contact agnescasal@ubx.ph.

UBX Philippines leads Open Finance revolution with i2i

Millions of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMES) in the country, which include sari-sari store owners, carinderia operators, and stall owners in public markets, rely on small loans to keep their businesses going.

These underserved Filipinos need better financial services, such as faster credit access from legitimate and reputable lenders.

Open Finance and payments platform i2i has been providing financial services to micro business owners like Mang Efren, a vegetable stall owner in Cebu.

Mang Efren was able to pick up his approved loan proceeds conveniently from the nearest partner remittance center through i2i, currently the fastest-growing Open Finance and payments platform in the country.

UBX Philippines, the financial technology venture studio of Unionbank of the Philippines, has been at the forefront of promoting an Open Finance ecosystem with i2i since the service was introduced in 2018.

i2i connects hundreds of banks and community-based financial service providers to each other, the National Retail Payment System (NRPS), and the largest remittance channels.

The platform provides enabling technologies that connect financial institutions directly to the country’s various financial ecosystems. It makes possible the interoperability among financial services providers with payments, disbursements, collections and transfer facilities. Thus, allowing more Filipinos like Mang Efren to enjoy faster access to financial services that are driven by technology and innovation.

“At UBX, our vision is simple – providing opportunity and access to all. That’s why we developed i2i as an Open Finance network built on top of blockchain technology and API-based integration across member banks and financial service providers. In one movement, it digitally transforms these institutions, allowing fintechs and digital platforms to innovate across the network, while providing new, cost-effective services and solutions to consumers,” said John Januszczak, UBX President and CEO.

Another feature of i2i service is Openi2i, a banking-as-a-service platform and developer ecosystem that allows partners to integrate financial services directly into their systems. Openi2i can link the largest banks to community-based financial service providers to each other, or fintechs to digital platforms.

A beneficiary of the Openi2i is the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI), which has been providing microfinance services to hundreds of thousands of micro-entrepreneurs in underserved communities across the country.

RAFI’s partnership with i2i has resulted in the increase in the number of customers who have accessed their loan proceeds. It has also helped grow RAFI’s collection capabilities.

“With the direct integration of our core banking system and Openi2i, our members now have options of getting their loan proceeds through i2i’s existing remittance partners. They get their money at the most convenient place possible. It has also allowed the enterprise access to more competitive rates across different channels,” according to Iris Dorado, RAFI Vice President of Business Development.

Another happy client is MYEG Philippines, an e-government solutions and payment services provider who partnered with i2i in 2020. The company was able to expand its access to hundreds of counters through Openi2i network with a single integration.

“A critical addition to the MyEG Philippines platform—these are invaluable payments and collections points for our customers all over the country,” said Ann Saldaña, MyEG Philippines Inc. Chief Executive Officer.

Though just starting in the Philippines, the Open Finance system is becoming more and more embraced by the population who are already reaping the benefits of the technology that allows them to do banking services conveniently.

Recently, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has announced the approval of the Open Finance Framework guidelines, which is a key step that will encourage active partnership, interoperability and data portability among financial institutions and fintech players.

Open Finance opens opportunities for customers and providers alike as it promotes accessibility and inclusivity through customer-permissioned data, creation of personalized financial services, and better credit approval workflows.

A gamer-changer in the Open Finance space, i2i boasts of hundreds of member institutions and over 1,700 agents across the country. It provides fund transfers, bills payments, mobile ATM, disbursements, and a host of services that are accessible in bank branches, local remittance counters, and merchant locations.

Anne Yosuico, Product Lead for i2i explains, “There’s a clear reason why we do what we do in i2i. We run the country’s first Open Finance platform and network that enables service providers to bring financial services closer to the underbanked and unbanked. i2i makes a difference in Filipinos’ lives everyday. We #includeeveryone!”

For its impact on financial inclusion in the Philippines, i2i bagged the awards “Best Digital Financial Inclusion Project – Philippines” from The Asset Triple A Digital Awards, and Operating Model Master for the Philippines from the 2019 IDC Digital Transformer Awards.

To read the original article, click this link.

Visit i2i now: https://bit.ly/2SVFHtc

UnionBank of the Philippines: Reaching the Underserved through Open APIs

Winner of Celent Model Bank 2020 Award for Financial Inclusion (Part I)

Abstract

Typically, most financial inclusion initiatives focus on developing propositions aimed at underbanked end users (“B2C approach”). It is less common for a financial institution to focus on enabling third parties to develop or provide such propositions (“B2B2C approach”). Yet, this is exactly the approach that the Union Bank of the Philippines took for financial inclusion, as demonstrated with two of their initiatives, API Marketplace and Send-i2i.

This is Part I of the case study of UnionBank’s award-winning projects, and profiles the bank’s API Marketplace. The Send-i2i initiative is described in Part II, Union Bank of the Philippines: Blockchain to bring Digital Payments to Rural Banks.

Having undertaken a major rearchitecture of its core systems, UnionBank decided to expose a range of application programming interfaces (APIs) through a developer-friendly Marketplace. This has successfully enabled the bank to significantly expand its customer base and transaction volume.

Read the original report by Celent here.