Unionbank’s new fintech unit to focus on blockchain, ‘embedded banking’

By Ram Superable Agustin

Union Bank of the Philippines, which touts itself as a digital-savvy bank, recently launched its fintech subsidiary called UBX, which will focus on “embedded banking” and develop solutions built on blockchain.

UBX Philippines chair Henry Aguda

“Unionbank is pushing blockchain not just for the technology’s sake but because it’s really fundamental in changing the way we will be able to conduct commerce with each other,” said Henry Aguda, chair of UBX Philippines and Unionbank senior executive vice president and chief technology and operations officer.

As indicated in its official registration last quarter of 2018 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, UBX’s main purpose is to create tech-driven solutions meant to reach the banked and unbanked Filipinos.

According to Unionbank president and CEO Edwin Bautista, the embedded banking will be a major objective with the launch of UBX. “We will harness blockchain to develop projects not just for ourselves but also for our corporate and institutional clients,” he said.

In line with their TechUp Pilipinas initiative which aims to utilize evolving technologies for a more inclusive and sustainable financial landscape, Unionbank also took in 100 students last year to be trained in an intensive six-month program on blockchain development under its Blockchain Institute project. Some of the graduates have been absorbed by the bank.

“UBX is a new entity that operates separately from Unionbank and is designed to be like a fintech company. With UBX, we want to usher in the age of embedded banking in the Philippines, where banking services are woven into the fabric of everyday life,” UBX president and CEO John Januszczak stated.

Januszczak said UBX is part of Unionbank’s transformation roadmap that is focused on co-creating businesses and financial services. An example of this was the recently launched XLOG, an en-to-end digital logistics platform built on the blockchain.

For the initial stages, UBX will concentrate on GlobalLinker and Project i2i products, a B2B networking platform and a blockchain-powered platform, respectively, that connect rural banks and cooperatives to financial institutions in the country.

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