Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent
October, 23rd 2012

Dennis Bancod, CIO, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation

By Dennis Bancod

Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), one of the leading private domestic commercial banks in thePhilippines, has grown rapidly over the last five years. To continue this momentum, we’ve set a goal of adding 10 million new customers by 2014. Many of these will include the so-called “unbanked” – farmers, small business owners and others in provinces of the Philippines where ATMs and bank branches are more scarce.

Technology and the transformation of our business model will be two of the most important drivers behind RCBC’s ability to bring banking to the masses.

Traditional banking technology and business models were developed around the characteristics of urban areas: high density of clients, relative proximity to cash distribution centers and the availability of  a telecommunications infrastructure, for example.

Not surprisingly, the economics of these models are not appropriate for serving clients in rural areas. Technology, however, has enabled new ways to interact with rural clients at significantly lower cost levels.

RCBC is teaming with IBM and Finacle from Infosys to transform our business and leverage new growth opportunities in an increasingly competitive consumer banking market. A new Finacle, IBM System z solution will provide the foundation RCBC needs to create value-added services that will increase customer adoption for our MyWallet electronic cash, debit and pre-paid cards, which gives the unbanked a great tool to conduct cashless transactions from their mobile devices or anywhere Visa cards are accepted.

The bank is targeting to grow our MyWallet card base by 4 million this year – more than doubling the 1.8 million users on-boarded last year. Among our initiatives to reach that goal are more partnerships with merchants that will lead to increased consumer acceptability and usage. The bank has already forged tie-ups with the Super 8 Grocery Warehouse chain, Enchanted Kingdom in Laguna, LBC Express Inc. and Mercury Drug. We plan more such partnerships in the months ahead.

RCBC also recently introduced a business loan program for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) called the Women’s Enterprise Loan developed specifically to address the needs of Filipina entrepreneurs. It’s one way the bank is responding to the government’s call to help empower local entrepreneurs through improved access to credit.

Since we re-launched it four years ago, RCBC’s SME Banking has expanded its portfolio by over three times to its present level of about P $15 billion. We are planning to expand total credits to this market to P $20 billion in the next 12 months.

RCBC is now positioned as a smarter bank, able to anticipate client needs and deliver innovative products to the unbanked and all our clients faster and more consistently than the competition. We are able to respond quickly and nimbly to changes in market conditions.

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Nice to see that you are trying to expand your banking operations into rural areas and trying to target those unbankable people and companies that cannot access traditional banking establishments. However, from my experience, many unbankable people as you call them don’t deal with banks becuase they don’t want to – don’t want to pay the fees and mess with the hassle.
It is also nice to see that you are trying to push small business loans to rural or minority companies that really need them to grow their solid businesses – this is where I think you will get your most value.

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