Philippines’ RCBC is Thriving Despite COVID-19 Pandemicby Fintech News Philippines May 8, 2020
Yuchengco-led Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) is reporting record-highs in digital growth amid the pandemic and Philippines’ enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
The bank is seeing triple-digit growth of up to 821% in key metrics of RCBC’s online and mobile facilities during the ECQ, Lito Villanueva, Chief Digital Innovation and Inclusion Officer said that this is evidence of a substantial shift to digital in the Philippines’ society.
“The positive numbers have also been buoyed by the enforcement of ECQ in many localities in the Philippines which drove new and existing clients from the physical branches to our digital platforms,”
New signups from January to April of 2020 is up 173 percent year-on-year. Digital banking enrollment during the enhanced community (ECQ), March 17 to April 30, has grown 167 percent compared to pre-ECQ figures in 2020. Daily transaction of all card-less ATM withdrawals is up 643 percent and 821 percent, in volume and in value, respectively, during the ECQ.
Unbanked recipients of remittances, who access their cash through card-less withdrawals in RCBC ATMs or payout partners, is up 393% in the same period. Meanwhile, daily transaction volume of all online send cash transactions during the ECQ grew 487% compared to pre-ECQ numbers.
The send cash feature enables RCBC Online Retail clients to transmit money even to beneficiaries without bank accounts. Recipients receive a text message with a unique reference number that they may present to any accredited payout channel.
RCBC expanded in April their payout network to include MLhuillier, Palawan Pawnshop, Palawan Express, LBC, or Bayad Center outlets aside from actual RCBC bank branches or any of its over 1,500 ATMs nationwide.
InstaPay transfers of RCBC also shown marked increase. It grew by 357 percent in the first four months year-on- year and 183 percent during ECQ.
“We predict that this aggressive increase in new accounts and transaction value and volume will persist through the COVID-19 crisis and beyond as more users enjoy the benefit of our digital services,”
“This is aside from covering all provinces in the Philippines with RCBC’s handheld ATM Go devices from the current 89 percent. This digital initiative helps the government in quickly disbursing social grants for the poor and vulnerable sectors affected by the lockdown,” Villanueva added. Over US$30 million has been disbursed through the digital facility growing at 141 and 122 percent on daily average transaction value and volume, respectively.
The ATM Go is one of RCBC’s digital banking facilities where mobile point-of-sale devices are deployed to remote communities to provide automated teller machine (ATM) functions. Services, such as withdrawals, cash deposits, balance inquiries, fund transfers, and e-loading, are available to any BancNet ATM cardholder.
In the first six weeks, the bank has aided the Philippines government to dramatically speed up disbursements to over 350,000 households. The Department of Social Welfare and Development has recently issued a memorandum to all it regional offices endorsing the use of ATM Go for off-site payment of cash aid.
RCBC is currently the only bank that has successfully rolled out a massive digital disbursement platform enabling its payout partners in the countryside to augment the government’s efforts in quickly distributing the emergency cash subsidy to eligible families affected by the lockdown.
These efforts of RCBC is aligned with the thrust of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas of accelerating inclusive digital finance in the country.