UnionBank's blockchain-based i2i network powers financial inclusion in PH

October 29, 2019 - 05:17
UnionBank's blockchain-based i2i network powers financial inclusion in PH

SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 29 October 2019 - Digitalbanking leader Union Bank of the Philippines' (UnionBank) Project i2i -- ablockchain-based platform linking rural banks once disconnected from thecountry's financial network -- is making remarkable progress since the banklaunched i2i in April this year.

Its network already consists of 35 ruralbanks with 150 branches and 250,000 accounts nationwide, covering all majorcities in the 7,107-island archipelago. Furthermore, 70 more rural banks are inthe pipeline to join the network soon.

In August alone, transaction volume on i2i wasat over USD 1 million with 335 transactions performed that month. With thenetwork's exponential growth marked by more banks signing on and new servicesbeing added to i2i, these numbers are expected to rise further.

The Philippines' 500 rural banks play acritical role in the countryside which commercial banks have limited presencein. They service farmers, fisherfolk, and local businesses bringing progress tocommunities. However, due cost and other barriers, rural banks are excludedfrom national automated clearing houses (ACHs) and international paymentnetworks such as SWIFT.

i2i closes this gap as rural banks canaffordably leverage its network to connect to local ACHs, commercial banks andother rural banks, to perform real-time transactions powered by blockchaintechnology and UnionBank's very own PHX stablecoin added to the platform inJuly.  

The impact of this onfinancial inclusion is tremendous in the country of about 108 million Filipinos,70 million of whom are unbanked.

UnionBank also recently piloted nearreal-time cross-border transfers using tokenized fiat from OCBC Bank inSingapore to an i2i rural bank. A game-changing service for families ofmillions of overseas Filipino workers as it reduces the cost of sending moneyback home and increases access to bank-grade remittances.

"The world ismoving forward and we're already seeing solutions that make the whole ecosystemmore efficient," said President and CEO Edwin Bautista on UnionBank'sblockchain enterprise solutions. 

Clearly, Project i2i is enabling rural banksacross the Philippines to become a catalyst for nationwide inclusiveprosperity. Since its digital transformation in2016, UnionBank has sought to promote financial inclusion for all Filipinos, acommitment anchored on the bank's purpose of elevating lives, fulfilling dreamsand enabling communities through smart banking.