Mike Singh on CoinGeek Backstage

UnionDigital Bank plans to use blockchain, digital assets to target underserved Filipinos

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The Philippines is one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies and a leader in adopting emerging technology. However, it still lags behind its neighbors in Southeast Asia in availing essential financial services to its people. UnionDigital Bank is on the frontline in leveraging technology to serve marginalized Filipinos. As Mike Singh tells CoinGeek, it plans to integrate blockchain and digital assets soon.

“We’re one of the five licensed digital banks in the Philippines by the BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas),” Singh, the Chief Commercial Officer for UnionDigital, told CoinGeek Backstage reporter Claire Celdran on the sidelines of the CFO Summit in Manila.

UnionDigital is backed by UnionBank, a top ten bank in the country, making it the only digital bank backed by a universal commercial bank. This gives it an advantage as it can use the customer data of its parent bank to offer personalized digital banking services to clients, Singh said.

The Philippines has made major strides in the march towards universal financial inclusion. However, “we’re one of the laggards regionally in terms of bank populations…about 70% of the adult population is underserved or unbanked. There are less than 10 million credit cards in a country of 70 million adults.”

UnionDigital wants to bridge this gap. Its key focus, for now, is availing credit services to the lower half of the income pyramid. Singh revealed that blockchain and digital currencies are among the technologies the bank intends to tap in the future.

“There are plans in our roadmap to have a crypto exchange at UnionDigital. We’re all smart contract-based. We have digital identities, which is another product we’re developing. Ultimately, we’d like to provide services to the crypto and play-to-earn communities,” he said.

The Philippines is the world leader in play-to-earn gaming, and this community will need dedicated banking services, a niche UnionDigital intends to tap. The bank plans to offer a service where users can pay directly with their digital assets, but the merchants will receive the payment in fiat.

Singh further revealed that the bank’s blockchain plans will materialize by 2025 as the current focus is on turning a profit…we’ll use the capital generated from these businesses to fund the future of Web3.”

Watch: UnionBank of the Philippines remains relevant with the help of blockchain tech

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