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BAP develops digital banking ID facility


By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) has upped the ante of digitization in Philippine banking. It has recently convened with Amihan Global Strategies, a technology and consulting company in establishing an industry-wide facility that will further enhance the country’s digital identity technology. This project is set to revolutionize validation processes in the banking industry. With this, the Philippines is said to be one of the first few countries in the world to employ a powerful and sophisticated technology for identity management.

“We are committed to pursuing the Philippine banking roadmap we have crafted with the support of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. This initiative will enable the banking industry to provide a more convenient and faster way of delivering banking services to the clients,” said BAP president Nestor Tan.

“With the rapid development of technology on our side, banks must use this opportunity to constantly improve, innovate, and provide better services to the banking public,” BAP Operations Committee chairman Abraham Co added.

Centered on “self-sovereign identity,” this facility will enable an individual to have the sole control and discretion of sharing his personal information to selected recipients of his choice. Using this platform, the onboarding process of clients will be easier and more efficient as the individuals themselves through participating banks and accredited agents would be able to upload personal information immediately through mobile phones. Once the uploaded information is validated and vetted by a participating bank, clients will be able to open a new bank account and access banking services of other participating banks in a much faster and easier way.

This facility is powered by blockchain technology which enables a permanent and distributed ledger of transactions that cannot be tampered with.

“We welcome this development for the Philippines. The Bankers Association of the Philippines joins a global movement to benefit consumers using blockchain technology,” said Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director of Hyperledger. “We’re proud that the banking community is using open source software from Hyperledger technology to enrich data privacy and finance.”

While the project is still in development, several major banks which include Asia United Bank, BDO, BPI, Citibank, East West Bank, Metrobank and Union Bank have already signed on to accept and verify customer data on the platform. Other banks are soon expected to follow.

As of 2017, there are only 44 million out of 100 million Filipinos that deposit money into bank accounts. However, with Philippines’ rapid growth of the economy and influx of digital technology, it should be noted that more and more Filipinos will expect to have easier access to financial services.

“Digital is the best solution for financial inclusion in the Philippines,” said Winston Damarillo, Founder and Executive Chairman of Amihan Global Strategies. “We are excited to collaborate with Hyperledger and the BAP to deliver inclusive innovation for the Philippines.”

Established in 1949, the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) is the lead organization of universal and commercial banks in the Philippines. It currently consists of 41 member banks, 21 of which are local banks and 20 are foreign bank branches.

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