|The Best Retail Bank: Philippines is Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), which picked up the trophy at the RBI Asia-Pacific (APAC) Awards 2022, thanks to a series of initiatives, such as digital on-boarding and platforms, allied to a stellar set of results. Total deposits grew by 25.5% last year, equating to P137 billion Philippine Pesos (US$2.62 bn).
The development of a fully digital on-boarding platform to enable clients to open accounts without physically going to the branch undoubtedly helped RCBC’s spike in deposits, as did Covid-19 where ‘no contact’ account opening, facilitated by electronic e-KYC (know your customer), became essential. Some people also sold investments during the pandemic to release cash into accounts in case it was needed, or just had more money because everywhere they usually spent money was closed.
Only banks that invested in their operations could achieve this benefit, however, and RCBC’s Bank From Home (BFH) facility was suitable, alongside its new launches. The Branch of Today omnichannel model, which combines physical and digital banking, cutting paperwork and following customer’s journeys as they navigate across channels, has kept many of the newcomers that joined the bank during the pandemic. It gives customers the flexibility to bank how and when they want and has persuaded many to try some digital banking.
The model uses artificial intelligence (AI) robotic process automation (RPA) to drive automated self- service aspects of Branch of Today and enhance internal efficiency, while application programming interfaces (APIs) provide the necessary data exchange connectivity that allows one piece of software to talk to another across a channel or product set. This avoids IT silos and unnecessary expense or disruption to customers’ seamless experience.
The new fully digital online on-boarding capability generated 24,659 new-to-bank client accounts in 2021, many of which remain as they lives return to normal benefitting from a card, ATM and cheque book as well to complete their package. This number represents 106% growth from the 11,973 accounts that were opened at RCBC in 2020. A refreshed digital platform with more than 20 features on the app, updated under the Covid-19 remote operation imperative, also brought benefits to the bank as easy digital transactions became the norm. New enrollments on the online platform rose from 11,846 in 2019 to 245,008 in 2021 and usage transactions rose by 48% to 11.1 million last year, from 7.5 million in 2020.
New products, such as the RCBC OneAccount with customizable add-on features based on personal data analytics in the all-in-one deposit account, were also popular with customers, as was the Hexagon Club rewards program for the mass affluent.
RCBC is in the top 10 banks in the Philippines (see Figure 1) and saw current account and saving account (CASA) and time deposits grow year-on-year (YoY) by 23.5% and 28.2% in 2021 in comparison to the previous year, the fastest growth among its peers.
RCBC sustained its stellar performance for the second year in a row since the global pandemic started. In 2021, its net profit after tax (PAT) stood at P7.082 billion (US$ 135 million), a 41% increase from P5.02bn (US$95.9m) in 2020. The Bank continued to rank among the top 10 industry players in the Philippines in terms of assets.