State-run Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) will forge ahead with its financial inclusion initiatives this year by tapping financial technology companies (FinTech), non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), as well as rural banks while optimizing available information technology (IT) applications to improve service delivery to its customers, a top official said.
DBP President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel G. Herbosa said the bank will harness synergies from existing partnerships with NBFIs and FinTech companies in providing essential banking services while re-assessing plans for further branch expansion in the mid-term.
“DBP views its partnerships with FinTech firms, NBFIs, and potential alliances with progressive rural banks as a means to bridge the so-called “last mile” in providing essential banking services especially in the far-flung and unbanked communities,” Herbosa said.
DBP is the eighth largest bank in the country in terms of assets and has a branch network of 129 branches including 11 branch units, most of which are located in underserved and unbanked areas of the country. The bank also has 837 automated teller machines nationwide.
Herbosa cited the bank’s programs with the Social Security System and the Department of Agriculture where an NBFI and a prominent FinTech firm were extensively used in disbursing cash aid to low-income beneficiaries such as farmers and minimum-wage workers.
He said the bank leveraged on the broad network and IT capabilities of these institutions to achieve efficiency in both scale and scope, which enabled faster and more seamless pay-outs.
“These collaborations could be a model for future undertakings that would require massive amounts of disbursements to individual recipients in a short period of time,” Herbosa said.
Herbosa said that DBP is looking at scaling down its expansion plans adding that “…the current market situation and trends dictate the need to re-evaluate the viability of the brick-and-mortar” approach to banking …”
He said DBP would re-channel its resources at widening customer touchpoints by capitalizing on available and emerging technologies and enhancing existing banking infrastructure and systems.
“Moving forward, DBP as a development bank would need to beef up its retail banking capability while catering to its niche of institutional customers such as local government units, water districts, as well as micro, small and medium enterprises,” Herbosa said.