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First blockchain financing platform for MSMEs seen by end-2019

UBX Philippines Corporation, the wholly-owned fintech subsidiary of Aboitiz-led Union Bank of the Philippines, and OneConnect Financial Technology Co. Ltd., an associate company of China’s insurance giant Ping An Group, are building the Philippines’ first blockchain-enabled platform to meet the banking needs of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

“We are on our way towards building an MSME lending platform in partnership with the fintech arm of one of the world’s largest financial institutions (Ping An’s OneConnect),” Edwin R. Bautista, UnionBank president and CEO, said in a statement sent to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) on July 29, 2019.

A separate statement issued by OneConnect earlier said the blockchain-enabled digital platform will be operational by end-2019, and will be made available to a progressively larger community of MSMEs by 2020.

The financing platform is an end-to-end platform that leverages OneConnect's award-winning facial recognition technology, micro-expression interviewing technology, and big data-enabled artificial intelligence.

It covers a wide range of business finance needs, such as multi-channel loan applications, credit assessment, loan disbursement, and anti-fraud checking. It significantly reduces approval time while providing more accurate risk assessment.

With digital loan application channels enabled, the platform allows lenders to target a wider MSME population in the Philippines.

These MSMEs can also use the platform's advanced capabilities such as AI, big data, remote interview with micro-expression technology and anti-fraud engine.

"We believe there is huge economic potential in the MSME sector and we have confidence in how our technology can help enterprising businesses leapfrog into better ways of doing business,” said Tan Bin Ru, CEO (Southeast Asia) of OneConnect.

“We are excited to be partnering with UBX in the Philippines, because we share the same vision of how technology can empower communities that traditionally cannot be reached. With OneConnect's proven technology solutions and UnionBank's deep market knowledge and domain expertise in catering to MSMEs, we look forward to introducing impactful financial solutions for MSMEs in the Philippines,” she added.

She said their partnership with UBX underscores their commitment to accelerate digital transformation in the Philippine financial services industry.

With the use of their technological advancements, they are enabling financial institutions to better serve the unbanked and underbanked communities, she added.

Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, OneConnect noted that 99.6% of all business in the Philippines are MSMEs.

The sector accounts for about 63% of total employment.

However, only one of 10 (or 9.2%) loans, extended by commercial banks in the Philippines go to MSMEs. (Ventures Cebu)

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