RCBC to Launch Digital Bank for Rural Filipinos

The Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation () is setting up a rural bank that will join the digital banking race in the Philippines, the «Philippine Daily Enquirer» reported on Wednesday.

«Diskartech» is expected to launch in February and will be run by Lito Villanueva, RCBC executive vice president and chief inno­vation and inclusion officer, RCBC president Eugene Acevedo said in a filing with the Philippines Stock Exchange on Tuesday, the publication reported.

Rural Population Underserved

«This development is a critical component of RCBC’s overall digital blueprint in reaching the grassroots and bring in millions of unbanked and underserved Filipinos. 2020 will definitely be an exciting for all of us,» Acevedo said.

Under its digital banking roadmap, RCBC plans to add 1 million new customers this year. A virtual bank would allow it to better cater to low-income segments, which include accounts with a daily average balance of 800-1,000 Philippines pesos ($15.72-$19.65).

Digital Race Heats Up

RCBC’s announcement follows Singapore-based Tonik ’s statement earlier in January that it will debut a pure-play digital bank in the Philippines in 2020.

Tonik, which received a banking license from the central monetary authority, said the banking market in the Philippines is «ripe for disruption,» as the country is a world-leader in internet and social media use, but 70 percent of adults are unbanked.

Only two digital banks currently operate in the Philippines, operated by Malaysia-based financial giant CIMB Bank and Dutch lender ING Bank, which both debuted in 2019.

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