UnionBank opens country’s first mass retail banking hub to better support PH MSMEs
The hub, a consolidation of all entrepreneur-centric solutions offered by UnionBank, will provide a one-stop center for resources that MSMEs might need in order to support their businesses regardless of size—such as financing, logistics, and a buyer-seller network, to name a few—all made accessible to mass market customers. This was one of the topics at UnionBank’s E-Talk Tales last February 17, wherein UnionBank’s Chief Mass Market and Financial Inclusion Executive Manual G. Santiago, Jr. focused on how the Bank addresses the typical pain points encountered by entrepreneurs, especially during the pandemic. Santiago began the discussion by first explaining what the hub’s target market is, which he defined as “the middle-middle income level going down” which is also a mix of banked, underbanked, unbanked customers. "I think the definition for SMEs is much more defined where we're really looking at micro, small, and medium enterprises. So, these are your businesses with, for micro, 3 million in capital, and then you have 15 million for small, and for medium, it's about a hundred million in capital," he added. According to Santiago, UnionBank estimates this market at about 50 million customers, with the majority of them being in the lower income segments. In addition, about 60 percent of this customer market classify themselves as self-employed entrepreneurs. “It's a large market and we think this is a segment that needs attention at this time, and we're putting our efforts into that.” Santiago noted that a lot of entrepreneurs today are very careful about their decisions when it comes to their businesses, as a result of the uncertainties brought about by the current health crisis. This “wait and see” mindset is evident even in those who have immediate access to financing.