Tech

Dennis Wafula

UnionBank pilots blockchain-based remittance services in Philippines

UnionBank, based in the Philippines, in partnership with OCBC Bank in Singapore, has launched a blockchain-based solution to aid with remittance services in the two regions.

According to a press release, UnionBank is the first bank in the region to use blockchain-based tokenized fiat in transferring money across borders. The bank is making use of OCBC’s Adhara platform and UnionBank-UBX’s i2i platform to send money from Singapore to rural banks in the Philippines.

UnionBank also manages and operates the i2i blockchain platform that connects rural banks to UnionBank. The bank believes that, by connecting the financially excluded rural banks to each other and it self, they will bring great economic and social impact on the communities in the region. People residing in the areas are currently using non-bank remittance counters which are subject to high transaction fees and require a physical appearance.

The chairman of UnionBank, Justo Ortiz, said that the project would help the bank fulfill its mandate to the community. He said:

This is truly a step towards achieving our purpose of elevating lives and fulfilling dreams by connecting and enabling communities. Blockchain and emerging technologies make this possible at scale by collaborating with institutions on the spot and promoting inclusion.

Banks located in rural areas in Philippines have limited access to financial networks across the globe. This translates to delayed remittance payments to the beneficiaries. It may take up to seven days for remittances to be credited to an account. Most rural inhabitants opt for non-bank entities. These are considered to be faster but require the recipient to be physically present

According to the officer-in-charge at the Technology Risk and Innovation Supervision Department of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Melchor Plabasan, the bank is looking forward to integrating more blockchain solutions and other digital technologies in their payments and remittance. He said:

Rest assured that the BSP will continue to support initiatives aimed at creating an enabling remittance environment for our overseas Filipinos. We look forward to exciting times ahead as we engage more meaningfully for a modern, inclusive, and progressive remittance landscape.

Justo Ortiz, the chairman of UnionBank, said that this financial breakthrough will definitely promote inclusiveness and elevate lives by connecting financial institutions to real time transactions that can be accessed on the spot.

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