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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Asia CEO Awards cites RCBC executive as ‘Circle of Excellence Awardee’

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Manila, Philippines – Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation’s Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation and Inclusion Officer Lito Villanueva has been recognized as one of the Circle of Excellence Awardees in PLDT Enterprise’s “Global Filipino Executives of the Year” category during the Asia CEO Awards held last October 24, 2023 at Manila Marriott Hotel. 

The reputable recognition comes as a celebration and affirmation of Villanueva’s contributions as a  pillar of digital finance and financial inclusion in the Philippines. The RCBC Executive is the person behind RCBC’s massive digital transformation campaign through the first phygital or physical-digital solution RCBC Moneybela Barangayan Banking.

RCBC Moneybela was conceptualized by Villanueva and his team as an immediate response to lower financial inclusion rates in the rural and remote areas brought by limited infrastructure and low digital financial literacy. Under RCBC Moneybela are multi-awarded digital financial solutions: RCBC Diskartech – the world’s first multilingual financial inclusion application in Taglish and Cebuano; RCBC ATM Go – the country’s first and largest network of bank-agnostic and grassroots-based ATM service; and RCBC Pulz – a hyper-personalized one-stop shop banking service for the mass affluent powered by AI. 

The banking solutions under Villanueva’s leadership have resulted in massive wins in financial inclusion as epitomized through a 210% increase in rural bank onboarding in more than 13,116 barangays all over the Philippines. RCBC DiskarTech generated a 145% surge in transaction volume in September 2023 versus the same period last year. Notably, RCBC ATM Go also emerged as the only banking service that has 100% coverage or presence in all 82 provinces, which include geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Villanueva looked into the needs and lost opportunities of underserved and unbanked Filipinos at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic as untapped areas, and sought ways with his Digital Enterprise and Innovations Group (DEIG) in RCBC to create solutions that are contextualized to the needs of ordinary Filipinos. The RCBC executive continues to be instrumental in leading RCBC’s digital transformation towards meaningful and fruitful success by providing ‘Innovations with Empathy’ to serve the Filipino people, ensuring the seamless delivery of life-enabling banking services to financially-excluded areas that needed them the most. 

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“This honorable recognition is an affirming testament to the impact of RCBC’s efforts and innovations with empathy. We are building a massive ecosystem of sustainable, impactful, and inclusive digital finance solutions, which is founded on our main purpose of financial inclusion for all,” Villanueva said.

“To be able to extend access to digital finance for every Filipino from underserved, low-income regions is the core of what we do. We will continue  improving, scaling, and creating sustainable, inclusive, socially-impactful and life-enabling financial solutions that are strategically designed and tailor-fit to uplift our countrymen’s lives.” 

Villanueva also recently garnered twin recognitions in The Philippines’ Top 30 Leaders on LinkedIn and Top Finance Leader under the LinkedIn Leadership Catalysts Awards for 2023.  He was also awarded the Philippines Rising Tigers Magazine as one of its ‘Trailblazers and Innovators’ for the year, the  ‘Legend CIO’ title by the World CIO Summit 2023, and Digital Leader of the Year by PhilSec Awards. He is hailed among the 2023 Seamless Asia’sTop 50 Banking and Payments Leaders, Top 100 Fintech Leaders in Asia, Mr. Fintech of the Philippines by BizNews Asia, and Chief Innovation Officer of the Year by The Banker, among his over 70 global and regional accolades. He released various publications, including the award-winning Inclusive Digital Finance Report. He also has a regular business column Bytes in the Philippine Star.

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