By Doris Dumlao-Abadilla, Inquirer Business
Aboitiz-led Union Bank of the Philippines has rolled out its mobile banking facility—called BOW or “bank on wheels”—in Cebu to give Typhoon “Odette”-stricken communities access to much-needed financial services.
BOW is UnionBank’s 5G-capable banking kiosk in a van —a mobile version of its fully digital banking branch, The Ark. This is seen to allow customers to experience the features of a high-tech branch wherever needed across the country.
“In the wake of Typhoon Odette’s devastation, many banking customers in Cebu and other affected areas were left with little to no access to basic banking services. Committed to address this urgent concern, we deployed BOW while we worked on restoring the bank’s ATM (automated teller machine) network in these areas,” said Henry Aguda, UnionBank’s senior executive vice president and chief technology and operations officer, in a press statement on Tuesday.
According to UnionBank, BOW is designed to bring its “trailblazing technology and innovation directly to its customers.”
By deploying BOW, Cebu residents have been able to use the ATM inside the kiosk that enabled them (UnionBank cardholders) to do balance inquiry, withdrawal, funds transfer, and bills payment transactions. Non-UnionBank cardholders have been to able make balance inquiries and withdraw cash as well.
With the cash recycler machine (CRM) also inside the kiosk, customers can also conduct cardless withdrawal as well as deposit cash for both carded and cardless transactions.
Non-UnionBank cardholders can do their balance inquiries and cash withdrawals.
“UnionBank will go the extra mile to serve the needs of our customers especially in times like these,” Aguda said. “We take our corporate social responsibility and business continuity very seriously, and customers can rest assured that their banking needs will be met even in the most difficult of situations.”
Housed in an air-conditioned and internet-connected facility, both machines are intended to replicate a fully digital banking branch experience, ensuring security and ease during transactions.
BOW has moved to various typhoon-affected areas to make its features accessible to as many banking customers as possible, the bank reported.
In the aftermath of the typhoon, UnionBank said its ATM availability in disaster-stricken areas had been reduced to only 21 percent. But after just a day, the bank reported that availability of its ATMs had increased to 64 percent. As of press time, network availability has hit 97 percent.In December, UnionBank bagged a P55-billion “game-changing” deal to buy about a quarter of American banking giant Citi’s local assets, jacking up potential earnings from the high-margin consumer banking segments and boosting its rank among banking peers.The transaction – the largest seen in the Philippine banking community in recent years – will fast-track Unionbank’s penetration of the upscale local consumer market by five to 10 years and likely boost its income stream by about P6 billion annually beginning 2023, the first full year of integration.