Union Bank of the Philippines has received two awards from the prestigious London-based International Banker.
The first of these awards is the Best Innovation in Retail Banking in the Philippines 2018 – a repeat of the same accolade that the bank received in 2016 – amid its relentless pursuit to deliver best-in-class banking platforms to address changing customer needs and deliver outstanding customer experiences.
Since the bank was first featured on the cover of the International Banker’s Spring 2017 issue where it promised “Digital Transformation, With No One Left Behind” to the global financial world, the International Banker has closely kept track of UnionBank’s transformation journey.
This promise was made by UnionBank president and now chief executive Edwin Bautista in 2016, at the start of his presidency. Even then, Bautista already made clear his plans to “future-proof” UnionBankers by retooling them, so they can move seamlessly from a job that may be impacted by digitization to the many new jobs that are and will continue emerging.
According to the magazine’s editors, they have featured numerous stories on digital transformation by other banks and financial institutions, but what made UnionBank special was its battlecry to “not leave any employee behind” plus the consistently solid business results and “tech” milestones that it has achieved thus far.
Today, less than three years since this pivot, UnionBank has established itself as a leader in digital banking – winning multiple, diverse and prestigious awards both in the Philippines and abroad. Importantly, management and employees have all worked hard together to consistently deliver “digital firsts” and “best-in-class” products and platforms (e.g. robotics process automation, chatbots, and the state-of-the-art Integrated Operations Center, and most recently, blockchain applications).
This has also shown that total digital transformation is first about getting people to embrace technology and use this in so many innovative ways, to be more productive and thus provide best customer service for all, on the journey to inclusive prosperity.
In recognition of Bautista’s clear vision, excellent strategy and exemplary leadership skills and the passion, agility, and innovativeness that the entire UnionBank team has shown, the International Banker also awarded Bautista as the Banking CEO of the Year Asia – an honor that Bautista wholeheartedly shares with all UnionBankers.
“We are embracing technology totally. It is no longer an exercise in acquiring competitive advantage. It’s a matter of survival,” Bautista said.
When he made clear his mission to transform the Bank for the digital economy, Bautista said he was aware that this was the biggest challenge the bank needed to overcome but he said he was confident because the organization is gung-ho in making sure this happens.
“I have set three objectives in the short-to-medium term. Digitize the bank, launch the digital bank and partner with fintechs,” Bautista said.
Asked about his leadership style, Bautista said it is an adaptive and agile form of leadership as required in the bank’s digital transformation.
Bautista encouraged UnionBankers to continue embodying the bank’s values of Magis or doing more, doing better and greater, and Ubuntu or having compassion for the community.
“The future will be about empowerment, collective leadership, and co-creation. We are using both the strength of our past and the innovation of the present to forge a future that will see us transform again and again into the best versions of ourselves,” Bautista said.
The International Banker recognizes leading banking institutions and individuals that have set the bar for industry excellence through its annual Banking Awards.
In 2016, the magazine also awarded UnionBank as the Best Commercial Bank in the Philippines apart from Best Innovation in Retail Banking.
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