Asia United Bank seeks to expand, intensify IT collaboration

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 22) — The Rebisco Group's banking unit is poised to further expand on several fronts this year on the technology and bank branching side.

Listed Asia United Bank (AUB) grew by 23 percent last year, as it projected a P3.2-billion net income by the end of the year.

During Friday's stockholders meeting, AUB laid out plans to intensify collaboration with information technology (IT) and finance technology (fintech) providers.

"By harnessing this synergy with fintechs, we expect to develop bank products and services that are more responsive to the growing demands of today's customers, including the millennials," said Wilfredo Rodriguez Jr., AUB head of operations and information technology.

AUB has so far incorporated in its mobile app Instapay, the electronic fund transfer service of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. It also has a Credit Card Mobile app that allows cardholders access to their credit card accounts anytime.

The bank also partnered with Tencent, developer of Chinese chat app WeChat and its payments arm WeChat Pay, to allow local merchants to accept WeChat Pay transactions through AUB's PayMate app.

Along with its digital expansion, the bank plans to open 15 more branches this year, bringing its network size to 264 physical establishments. This includes branches of its subsidiaries, Cavite United Rural Bank and the Rural Bank of Angeles and Pampanga.

"Subsequently, we are looking at opening 10-12 branches per year, as well as ensuring the profitability of all our branches, said Jacob Ng, AUB's Chief Transformation Officer and Banking Branch Head.

AUB reported a net income of P2.8 billion in 2017, 23 percent more than its income the year prior. This was driven by a robust growth in loans and deposits, which grew by 22.4 percent and 31.87 percent respectively in 2017.