UnionBank and CitySavings participates in Cebu Google DevFest


CitySavings Chairman of the Board Eugene Acevedo shares the bank's digital initiatives - the Loan Ranger and Loans Hub (LH+) to make the financing experience of the teacher-clients easy and convenient whilst creating ‘magic moments'.

Over 1,600 programmers, IT students, tech enthusiasts, students and entrepreneurs trooped to the SM Seaside City Cebu for the 5th Google Developers Group (GDG) DevFest last November 19. GDG is an organized volunteer group whose main goal is to provide a community based venue to connect the best industry experts and tech enthusiasts to share their expertise and knowledge.

Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) and City Savings Bank (CitySavings) co-presented this event that showcased tech workshops, code labs, hackathons, several programming and coding tournaments as well as digital entrepreneurial programs. These activities focused on using Google platforms and technologies.

Internationally renowned experts on google technology and digital innovation from South Korea, Singapore and the US as well as local enthusiasts including UnionBank's Senior Executive Vice President and CitySavings Chairman Eugene Acevedo were among the key speakers during the GDG DevFest.

Acevedo started his talk by sharing that "the secret is that CitySavings and UnionBank are more digital than how people think we are. People may think banks are boring, but we're very digital inside. There's more to banking than just taking your deposits and lending."

UnionBank's Mobile Money and Ureka

UnionBank was exploring ways how to help a microfinance company collect payment from "nanays" who live in islands or in mountainous areas and had no easy access to bring the loan payment to the poblacion or to the mainland. Since most nanays had mobile phones anyway, the Bank made it easy for the nanays to send payments via their phones saving them time and money.

The Ureka project aims to put as many small businesses in the internet. During launches in Baguio, Iloilo and Davao, UnionBank and its partner institutions recruited hundreds of young tech-inclined university students and put them together with hundreds of small businesses. During the day the two groups worked together to create websites for the small businesses, and linked them with a logistics provider. "So if you are based in the U.S. and you want to buy Baguio silhig (broom) or peanut brittle, you simply get online and order one. Imagine that." said Acevedo.

CitySavings' Loan Ranger and Loans Hub

In CitySavings, Loan Rangers now go around visiting customers carrying a small laptop and a portable printer. Whoever wants a loan can have it processed right then and there, and within minutes the money can be deposited to their ATM card. Customers now do not have to go to the bank to do banking.

Furthermore, City Savings has replaced the credit approval process with an algorithm called Loans Hub Plus. When the bank staff inputs loan applications into their terminals, the Hub instantaneously replies whether the loan can be approved, or suggests revised parameters to make the loan approvable. The teacher-borrowers immediately get an answer. This process which used to take two hours has been cut to as fast as 20 minutes.

Acevedo ended his talk with "Many people say delight the customers, improve the user experience. But you know what, many of our customers think they know how the bank did it. What is key is doing certain things that our customers cannot figure out. For example, with our Loan Ranger service our customers started saying "its like magic". This to us is the sign that we have already started to make the diff in their lives through digitization. If we cannot delight our customers, if we cannot reduce costs, if we cannot create magic moments, then we would have failed. We are here today because we are in the process of expanding our technology group. If you like the things that we've done, and if you like doing good things for society, consider being with us."

The event is the biggest Google tech conference in Cebu held today, November 19 at the SM Seaside Centerstage. It's a whole day event with a series of sessions, codelabs, hack-a-thons, and other fun activities.