Philippine Bank Starts Blockchain-Enabled Internal Communications

The Union Bank of the Philippines has unveiled blockchain-enabled internal communication processes to cut operational cost, hasten delivery of information.

The UnionBank of the Philippines (UBP), one of the early adopters of blockchain technology in the domestic banking sector, announced on Wednesday it had launched the first general circulars (GCs) on the blockchain platform to provide a cost-effective and faster way communication.

UBP said the technology would allow employees from all branches across the Philippines to access internal communications and published GCs in a more secure, safe and immutable platform.

"Issuance of GCs ensure standardized handling of all transactions and, through these, the bank mitigates potential process failures as a result of lack of employee awareness,” said UnionBank Performance and Quality Management head Derrick Nicdao. He explained GCs are internal communications the bank distributes to employees to disseminate information policies, regulatory requirements, and procedural guidance.

During last week's thanksgiving party, UBP president, and chief executive officer Edwin R. Bautista announced the bank has rolled out several internal blockchain applications to promote the technology within the company further and reduce operational costs. 

Bautista said, “In operations, we already launched several internal blockchain applications. The goal is to put blockchain as much as we can in the internal process. We want to reduce our costs. At the same time, it also helps us learn the technology that we can now apply for customers.”

Ruby Gisela Perez, head of UBPs Strategic Business Process Optimization, added adopting blockchain solution to the bank’s internal processes provides provenance and assurance of untampered information on the latest published GC version. The technology also provides added security and transparency on access based on document classification as well as a notification on periodic review."

The bank believes that using blockchain for its GC dissemination, they could give better benefits to its customers and partners in non-financial related concerns.

UnionBank executive vice president and chief information officer Dennis Omila added the move towards a blockchain-enabled communication is a proof case that blockchain benefits are not limited to cryptocurrencies, and the technology could be used for many other relevant everyday uses.

"This platform will help demystify blockchain and demonstrate how the technology can play a crucial role in streamlining processes," Omila said.

For his part, UnionBank chairman Justo Ortiz, who also sits as the founding chairman of the Blockchain Association of the Philippines, said the bank is setting the pace in blockchain development among domestic banks because of its belief the technology would provide financial inclusion to a majority of unbanked Filipinos.

“If ever we missed Internet age, maybe let’s not miss the blockchain age,” Ortiz told Cryptovest in a previous interview.