Ping An and UnionBank roll out blockchain SME financing platform in the Philippines

By Staff Writer

OneConnect Financial Technology, a unit of China’s Ping An Group, has partnered with UBX Philippines, the wholly-owned fintech subsidiary of Union Bank of the Philippines, to build the country’s first blockchain-enabled platform to meet the banking needs of micro, small and medium enterprises, according to a statement.

The partnership underscores both UBX and OneConnect’s commitments in using technology to promote financial inclusion in the country, where 77% of the population is reportedly unbanked.

The blockchain-enabled digital platform will be operational by the end of 2019, and will be made available to the larger community of SMEs by 2020.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), 99.6% of all business in the Philippines are MSMEs and they contribute to almost 63% of total employment. However, MSMEs get only 9.2% of loans and financing from the country’s major banks.

The financing platform leverages OneConnect’s facial recognition technology, micro-expression interviewing technology, and big data-enabled artificial intelligence (AI). It covers a wide range of business finance needs, such as multi-channel loan applications, credit assessment, loan disbursement, and anti-fraud checking. The new platform significantly reduces approval time while providing more accurate risk assessment, the statement said.

Another aspect of this platform is supply chain finance, one of the most popular use cases in the blockchain industry. It adopts OneConnect’s Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform on which supply chain data is recorded tamper proof, thereby allowing other stakeholders to access information about MSMEs — hitherto difficult to access — and help provide timely financing.

UnionBank is the Philippines’ ninth-largest bank in terms of assets and the leading digital bank in the country.

“Digital financial solutions – such as the ones we are co-creating with OneConnect – will allow us to include more MSMEs in the financial system,” said John Januszczak, president & chief executive of UBX.

OneConnect’s customer base includes all of China’s major banks, 99% of its city commercial banks, and 38% of its insurance companies. With 182mn customers and 513mn Internet users, Ping An is one of the largest financial services companies in the world.

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