UnionBank’s inaugural Innovation Festival to put country on the fintech map

Digital banking pioneer and trailblazer in the financial technology space UnionBank launched its inaugural Innovation Festival titled “The Future of Banking is with U,” marking the Philippines’ serious appetite to become a regional fintech hub.

“The Innovation Festival aims to showcase the many initiatives of Union Bank with our partners in the banking and financial sectors,” said Albert Cuadrante, UBP’s chief marketing officer, in an interview on the Daily Tribune’s morning show, Gising Na!

“We want to do this annually in the succeeding years to highlight the latest digital transformation technologies. If you visit our booths, you will see our collaborations with our partners, like Huawei, Globe, and other strategic allies,” Cuadrante added.

Held in one-hectare real property development in San Pedro, Laguna, the festival was attended by the who’s who in Philippine and regional fintech space, including President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who was so impressed with the launch that he described it as “precisely the kind of innovations, the kind of forward-thinking, operations, and actions that we will need, he said,” “not only in the private sector but also in the public sector so that we in government can participate in the new digital world, wherein we are living in more and more in our day-to-day lives.”

Unionbank President and CEO Edwin Bautista showcases the tech leap which the bank initiated.

UnionBank chief technology & operations officer and chief transformation officer Henry R. Aguda said the Innovation Festival and the Innovation Campus started as a dream. “Today is a testimony that we can achieve anything we set our minds to,” said Aguda about the event in his welcoming remarks.

The Innovation Campus is a first in the Philippine banking industry. It will integrate UnionBank’s institutes on data science and artificial intelligence, blockchain, and its digital bank EON under one roof.

The five-story building will be the hub for research and development to further boost the bank’s digital capabilities by creating solutions for the future of banking, fintech, and other industries.

Huawei Philippines Enterprise Business president Alex Luan Mingming commented in his speech, “To be chosen as your trusted partner for so many years, we feel very honored that you gave us this opportunity to bring this digital lifestyle to Filipinos.”

On the sidelines of the launch, UnionBank’s senior management executives led a discussion and answered questions from the media regarding the Bank’s latest venture, the Innovation Campus.

Undersecretary Almirol likened those who helped make the event possible to superheroes. “If you want to achieve innovation and digital transformation, you have to have that superhero mindset, not to boast, not to brag that you are better than everyone, but to share your strength with everyone.”

Afterward, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held with UnionBank president and CEO Edwin Bautista and Escueta. They were joined by UnionBank Transaction Banking Center head and project head of UnionBank Innovation Campus, Ramon Duarte.

The festival showcases numerous innovative digital solutions, applications, and the latest trends in fintech, edutech, data science and artificial intelligence, open finance, the metaverse, and many more developed by UnionBank in collaboration with its various partners in government and the private sector, through the Bank’s advocacy dubbed, “Tech-up Pilipinas.”

It culminated with the official ribbon-cutting of the UnionBank Innovation Campus on 9 September, simultaneous with unveiling of the headquarters of UnionDigital, the digital banking arm of UnionBank, and the first-ever Asian Institute of Digital Transformation.

Hundreds of guests, including dignitaries and partners from the public and private sectors, clients, media, and employees, are expected to participate in the festival to experience a variety of innovations, a series of fireside chats and panel discussions by industry experts, and will have a chance to win raffle prizes.

The 2022 UnionBank Innovation Festival was made possible in partnership with Huawei, Cloudera, Globe, TIM, Amazon Web Services, VMWARE/Integrated Compute, Questronix, BlueVoyant, Palo Alto, Salesforce, ICS, via-Appia.ph, Twilio, Tableau, Pointwest, ConvergeICT, Metaco, and the Department of Trade and Industry.

Among those who graced the opening ceremony was Department of Information and Communications Technology Undersecretary David Almirol Jr., who delivered a message. Joining him was UnionBank director Manuel D. Escueta.

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