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Banks ready for digital transformation

An official of Union Bank of the Philippines said the country is now ready for digital banking and relative innovations, citing the strong support from the government.

We have the support from our regulators,” Henry Aguda, UnionBank technology and operations and transformation chief, said in a virtual briefing.

The Bangko Sentral has been pushing for the digitalization of payment transactions, among others, in a bid to include more people into the formal banking system.

It also recently came out with a digital banking framework, recognizing digital banks as a separate entity from existing financial firms and eyes this as another channel that would promote market efficiencies and help increase public access to various financial services.

Aguda said that while digital criminals continue to improve their ways on how to go around financial institutions’ current systems, banks are more sophisticated.

“We can’t be held hostage by those criminals,” he said.

He said banks continue to take on additional layer of information technology protection to efficiently serve their clients.

Authorities said cybercrimes rose noticeably when the government implemented lockdown from March to April 2020 for Luzon and until end-May for Metro Manila.

This, after more people chose to do their financial transactions online during that period due to movement restrictions the government imposed to address the rise of coronavirus disease infections.

One of these cybercrimes is phishing, wherein criminals try to get the would-be victims’ personal information and passwords, among others, through electronic mails disguised as official communication from banks.

Aguda said the banking public is more knowledgeable now as proven by the increasing number of reports that they get regarding these crimes.

He also reminded bank account holders to take extra precautions whenever they do digital financial transactions such as what they would do in the physical world.