As the impact of COVID19 on health and the economy continues to persist, key actors, including the banking and finance sectors, create ways in an attempt to sustain the country’s survivability. Recently, the Philippine government launched the 4-pillar socio-economic strategy. The first two of which deals with the urgent needs of the vulnerable sectors and the medical industry. Whereas the second half is for economic recovery.
Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas also launched the Sustainable Finance Framework. It includes driving digital banking and financial inclusion, which anchors upon the fast spread of digital transactions. Since the implementation of the country-wide quarantine protocols, around 4.115 million digital accounts were created among banks and e-wallet platforms. Benjamin Diokno, BSP governor, said in a virtual fintech forum last May that the share of digital transactions should reach at least 50% by the end of his term in 2023.
The central bank sees the exponential growth in numbers as an opportunity for the banking and finance sector to seize the hype and cater to the growing desire for digital payment solutions.
Case on point, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation’s (RCBC) President and CEO Eugene Sering Acevedo stated in an interview with the Oxford business group that RCBC’s mobile app users increased by 10% between mid-March and mid-May alone. This change causes RCBC to consider closing some underutilized branches while investing more in its digital services. He also added that the bank’s management is highly focusing on digital & innovation targets and key result areas.
The stretch of the time that the country is under quarantine drastically decreased banks’ brick-and-mortar operations. Because of this, more and more users are migrating to online banking. ATM usage has also declined by 25% since the beginning of ECQ. Such push banks to leverage on improving the customer service and digital experience.
The PwC highlights the significance of keeping the bond between the banks and its stakeholders, especially the clients, warm during this time of economic crisis.
According to them, banks may want to consider the following to keep client relationships healthy and customer-service managed:
- Proactively reach out and offer training to customers who are not familiar with online banking. No client must be left behind during the evolution that is befalling in the banking and finance sector. Banks should assist their clients through this change, particularly those who find this transition not easy.
- Combine human and digital touchpoints in attending to customer concerns and needs. Banks should extend their services beyond person-to-person interaction. They should be able to address customer concerns through different channels, including online chats and emails.
- Train customer service personnel to better prepare them for interacting with borrowers with dignity and respect during this stressful time. Building customer trust is imperative during this struggling time as it will leave a lasting impression on them and will speak of the wholistic values that the bank upholds.
The pandemic has created a ton of problem areas in our economy. Nevertheless, banks should grab this opportunity to grow and adapt swiftly to modern demands accelerated by the health crisis and establish a robust, innovative and more sustainable means of their services.
Going full-on digital is the future of Philippine banking, and that future is fast approaching.