Banks to push for more studies, innovation to reach masses

By Josine Estuye

MANILA, (PNA) -– Bank executives Friday said to be able to reach the masses, every bank must find creative ways to innovate its services.

In a panel discussion at the 2013 Philippine International Banking Convention, Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), Philippine Bank of Communications (PBC), and Philippine National Bank (PNB) all agreed that innovation is what drives banks to reach more market, especially the masses.

BPI External Vice President (EVP) Natividad Alejo said the problem that prevents the banks from innovating is the country’s lack of customer analytics.

According to Alejo, existing data on bank consumers are not just limited but also irrelevant.

She noted that comprehensive studies are necessary for them to come up with services not only for the rich, but most importantly for those who desperately need to save, like the poor.

John Howard Medina, Senior VP of the PNB and PBC EVP Victor Lim likewise echoed Alejo’s statement, adding that limited studies also is the reason why the Philippines is still in the stage of “catch-up mode, in terms (of) innovation”.

Lim said to date, studies have “only answered the question: What does a customer do? And not: Who the customers are?”

“Another burden is the fact that 80 percent of the Filipino population still does not have any banking history,” the PBC official said.

They also lauded BPI, citing the bank has so far remained to be the most innovative private bank, even with less available studies.

BPI has so far utilized the internet, mobile services, and applications to be able to reach more market.

However, if the needed data were present, the bank executives agreed retail banking would be easier to banks.