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Philippines’ oldest bank is the leader in digitization

Bank of the Philippine Islands has been an early mover in tech implementation and today it has the cutting-edge tech tools at its disposal:

Philippines’ oldest bank is the leader in digitization

Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), the 1851-founded bank in the Philippines, has a history of innovation and use of technology in its operations. It had introduced an online banking platform, way back in 1999 and a mobile app in 2009 when traditional banks were just at the periphery of technology implementation. The bank has indeed been a trailblazer in digitization. It has more than 800 branches in the country and has been offering all the banking services to its customers, including asset management, insurance, securities brokerage and distribution and corporate and investment banking on high-end technology platforms.

BPI had recently taken up an exercise to upgrade its digital banking platform mainly with a view to offer an enhanced customer experience. It also wanted to drive customer engagement and create an omnichannel experience with its branches. It opted a phygital strategy covering all the platforms and serving all types of customers – online or offline – and the basic idea was to ‘stay relevant and make sure it is part of everything it does every day’, as described by a senior official of the bank.


In this task of creating a seamless digital banking experience, the bank partnered with Mobiquity, a digital consulting firm, and Backbase, a Dutch banking technology company that provides engagement banking. The 2 firms together conceived and developed a ‘Minimum Viable Product,’ or MVP, for the bank and subsequently re-platformed it and introduced new functionalities in incremental releases. The bank’s website was redesigned to align with the new online banking platforms to deliver a consistent user experience across all channels.

Some of the other functionalities introduced by the bank under this partnership include a personalized My Accounts page, a dashboard for all accounts that offers easy navigation and a single-click access to view statements, do financial transactions and even edit a client’s preferred name; a seamless and enhanced user experience where the customers get the same experience regardless of device, and digital wallet loading, which facilitated non-banking initiatives and partnerships with fintechs and other industries like cashless travel (by car, train, or bus).

During the pandemic and the lockdowns the bank saw accelerated shift towards digital banking among its customers. Just in the first month of the lockdown, the island of Luzon, where much of the country’s economic activity is centered, saw that 90% of all transactions done digitally. Prior to the pandemic, 60% of transactions were handled by the branch staff, while only 40% were done via BPI Online or the mobile app.


The bank has indeed realized that in order to continue to be a digital bank and good at it in the rapidly changing business environment, it needed to concentrate on innovation, have a future-proof technology and transform digitally. In accomplishing this, the bank has partnered with IBM to implement a digital banking agenda characterized by a secure, open and scalable hybrid multi cloud platform. IBM is now helping the bank to modernize the core IT infrastructure and build an open and integrated API economy, supported by both IBM and third-party public and private cloud providers.

Alongside the newly created platform is IBM’s state-of-the-art security services to support an enhanced security posture.

In short, the bank developed (i) a simplified and automated ‘as-a-service’ platform supporting digital projects and initiatives, (ii) a hybrid cloud orchestration and management via a ‘single pane of glass’ ensuring policy compliance across all environments and (iii) ‘born-in-the-cloud experiences’ delivering digital innovation to customers through convenient applications and services.

Today, IBM Hybrid Cloud Management Services deliver a seamless technology that resides within the bank’s existing infrastructure as well as its private and public cloud. IBM also renders IT Infrastructure Services that support an agile IT and hybrid cloud domain, that go with digital development capabilities. IBM also hosts all of the bank’s existing and future digital solutions.


The bank’s President and CEO Jose Teodoro K. Limcaoco believes that reinvention is a way of life for the bank and is key to its sustained leadership throughout the years. He had said the bank will “continue to reinvent banking so that we can better serve the evolving needs of our clients. Digitization, customer obsession and sustainability remain to be our focus as we move forward to a post-pandemic environment.”

The bank is preparing itself to acquire and engage customers through 7 customer engagement platforms, each specifically designed to fulfil the banking needs of a particular segment. Among these, BPI Online, BPI Mobile, BPI Trade, BizLink and BanKo app are fully functional.

Of the bank’s 9 million customers (as of June 2022), 5.2 million are on digital platforms. Of these, 3.5 million were active clients, up from 3.2 million by end of 2021.

[email protected]

This article has been compiled based on publicly available information on the web, particularly the bank’s own website.

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