Towards digitally transformed community financial centers
UBX, the leading open finance platform in the Philippines, has teamed up with the Philippine Postal Corporation (Post Office) to launch Kasama Lahat, a capacity development project which will transform the country’s premier postal agency into a modern hub that offers financial and data services for everyone in the community.
“The Post Office Digital Innovation signifies the commitment and support of the Post Office especially under the new administration of President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. in serving the public who deserve no less than the best postal service by global standards’, Postmaster General Norman Fulgencio said.
Under the partnership, UBX will provide the necessary technical knowledge in digital finance and open finance to hasten the Post Office’s digital transformation journey. With its ubiquity and reach, the Post Office is well-positioned to provide its customers necessary financial services, promoting financial and social inclusion, especially in far-flung areas.
Through the Bangko sa Barangay Service of UBX, the Post Office will be able to transform thousands of its outlets nationwide into financial hubs, offering various types of services such as disbursements, fund transfers, cash withdrawals, loan applications, payments, insurance, and collections, among others.
The Philippine Post Office has approximately over 1,300 outlets across the country.
“This groundbreaking partnership with the Post Office reflects our strong commitment to include everyone into the country’s financial system. With its reach and data, the Post Office has the power to drive financial and social inclusion through its digital transformation initiative,” UBX President John Januzczak said.
Aside from transforming each postal outlet as community financial centers, the partnership will also empower postmen to become cash agents. They will be trained to provide guidance on how to apply for financial products and services, as well as to supervise the provision of these services.
In the long term, Kasama Lahat aims to establish Post Office as Open Finance Hubs, which can process data transactions as well, such as validation of customer information for loan applications, asset validation, and even collection or debt restructuring services.
Since it was established in 2019, i2i has been connecting institutions, including micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) into the country’s financial ecosystems. Now with thousands of agents and hundreds of financial institutions, it provides fund transfers, bills payments, mobile ATM, insurance, and loan services which anyone can access in various banks and merchant locations nationwide.
Millions of Filipinos have been integrated into digital finance through i2i, paving the way forward to the future of open finance. Its Bangko sa Barangay service, which was launched in July of last year, turned branch networks and agent pools to become financial service providers in their communities capable of providing financial and data transactions.
These services, under Kasama Lahat, aim to transform the Post Office by putting customers to the fore by creating and innovating products and services to meet their demands, shifting the agency to a sustainable business culture, reviewing, and proposing amendments to the Post Office Charter (RA 7354), and overall contributing to social inclusion in the Philippines.
With this partnership, the Post Office will also be able to establish a product line which will establish its financial independence from the budget provisioned by the government, giving the postal agency a more sustainable business culture. The profit margins will also allow it to continue its vision of modernization.
“Our digital transformation journey, powered by UBX, allows us to diversify our services beyond the Filipino people’s postal needs. With our network of over 1,300 outlets and more than 3,500 postmen, we are in a unique position to provide financial services that promote both financial and social inclusion in the country,” Post Office Postmaster General Normal Fulgencio said.
Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) shows that 47 percent of Filipino adults are still unbanked. The government aims to include at least 70 percent of Filipino adults to the country’s financial system by 2023.
“The challenge for both the public and private sectors to drive financial inclusion is daunting and it requires a strong sense of commitment and partnership to achieve this. Our partnership with the Post Office is just an example of meaningful ways to bring financial services closer to Filipinos,” Januszczak said.