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RETAIL BANKING | Tony Chua, Philippines

Innovations fuel BPI’s growth—CEO

The lender said it pioneered innovations through banking processes streamlining, computerizing and automating operations.

In any business, going beyond means more than just coming up with innovations; more importantly, it’s all about thinking ahead by providing efficient, convenient, and accessible measures that truly makes things easy for customers.

This is the vision that the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) carries as it kicks off the celebrations for its 160th anniversary last August 1. "Throughout 160 years, BPI has pioneered banking innovations that helped spur the growth and development of the industry through streamlining of banking processes, computerizing and automating operations, and improving overall security of transactions," says BPI president Aurelio R. Montinola, III. "BPI envisions to democratize financial responsibility by empowering Filipinos to live more progressive lives and realize their dreams. This is in keeping with our thrust to make banking more accessible, more convenient, and more affordable to more Filipinos."

During the anniversary kickoff, BPI reported that a double-digit rise in net interest earnings has pushed its first semester net profit to grow by 12 percent to P6.2 billion. Net profits for the second quarter alone grew by 18 percent, reaching P3.3 billion in total from P2.8 billion last year. Revenues, on the other hand, saw a 15 percent rise with increases generated by both net interest and non-interest income.

BPI has pioneered a number of firsts which have changed the landscape of the industry over the years. "BPI was not only the first established bank in the Philippines but, more significantly, was also the first established bank in Southeast Asia," reveals Montinola.

In 1852, BPI printed out the first Philippine peso, thus taking Philippine trade beyond the Spanish currency. And then in 1901, BPI financed the country’s first railroad system that gave people easier access to locales beyond their own. Twelve years after, in 1912, BPI brought banking beyond Luzon and Visayas when BPI opened its first regional branch in Zamboanga. And in 1981, BPI brought electronic banking to a new level by introducing the country’s first ATM system—the BPI Express Teller. More recently, in 2003, BPI became the first bank in the country to introduce mobile banking. And in 2008, BPI pioneered the concept of real-time, online banking when they allowed customers to bank in any BPI branch beyond their home branch.

Today, BPI sets its sight to improving every Filipino’s banking experience by going beyond the ordinary with banking innovations that help address the need of Filipino businesses. "BPI’s banking innovations celebrate the marriage of technology and efficiency by leading Filipinos to financial empowerment," says Montinola.

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