Collab is key: Why a consumer bank launched this initiative in fintech industry

May 4, 2023 - 10:53 AM
UnionBank Open Finance Innovation Hub
UnionBank launches the 12-week program of its Open Finance Innovation Hub for start-up companies in this photo posted on its Facebook page for jobseekers on April 13, 2023 (unionbankcareers/Facebook)

Collaboration is the key when it comes to success.

This is what a consumer bank believes as it launched its Open Finance Innovation Hub where various organizations can work together and create solutions to drive progress in the fintech (financial technology) industry.

The Fintech Business Group of UnionBank on April 13 launched the innovation which will provide an open digital ecosystem for co-creation in the country.

The consumer bank said its digital ecosystem breaks down silos and encourages trust and collaboration.

In business, silos is defined as a mindset when a certain department or sector does not wish to share information with others in the same company.

Unionbank said that the Open Finance Innovation Hub seeks to provide a platform where different groups can work together, learn from each other, and create solutions to push transformation in fintech.

It recently launched a 12-week program that equipped start-up companies to adopt lean digital banking and open finance.

The 12-week program sought to refine start-up companies’ business models, scale their operations, and secure round seed investments from venture capitalists and investors.

UnionBank said that it is the first bank-led Open Innovation Platform designed to assist the growth of start-up companies through the early to the mid stages of their journey — from scaling to funding.

Meanwhile, collaborators from different industries can publish and consume problem statements, data, and models in an open-source platform after the 12-week program.

Why collaboration is important 

According to UnionBank Fintech Business Group head Erika Dizon-Go, trust is essential in building a culture of collaboration among entities.

“Overcoming the challenges of open innovation requires a willingness to foster a culture of collaboration, to overcome the silo mentality that often inhibits innovation,” she said in a release.

“It requires us to build trust and relationships because trust is required between partners, which can be built through effective communication, transparency, and a mutual understanding of the end goal,” Dizon-Go added.

For UnionBank chief human resource officer Michelle Rubio, innovation is in the bank’s “DNA.”

“This is why we created this space — to bring together the enthusiasts and experts from different industries, put our heads and minds together, and create ideas and solutions,” she said, referring to the Open Finance Innovation Hub.

“Open innovation matters more now because there is really a need to drive progress and transformation not just in our business, but society in general,” Rubio added.

‘Much bigger bank’

In its annual stockholders’ meeting on April 28, bank president and CEO Edwin Bautista said that the consumer bank is becoming bigger and “growing” its customer base.

According to him, the bank’s customer base has doubled to 10 million in three years, specifically from 2019 to 2022.

It also enhanced its digital channels and diversified its thrift bank subsidiary.

Moreover, UnionDigital, the digital banking arm of UnionBank, has booked over P5 billion in loans in five months.

“We are now a much bigger bank,” Bautista said in his presentation.

Meanwhile, those who want to be part of the bank’s Open Finance Innovation Hub can send an email to [email protected].