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Coronavirus Pandemic “Amplifies the Need For All Banks to Go Digital Now”, Says UnionBank CEO

Coronavirus Pandemic "Amplifies the Need For All Banks to Go Digital Now", Says UnionBank CEO

As Coronavirus is spreading via different means, the cash use is becoming low as different health authorities and central banks are encouraging contactless payments. As an alternative, the cryptocurrency or central bank digital currency is at the forefront for adoption as contactless money.

The chief executive and president of the Philippine’s ninth biggest bank, Edwin Bautista, focuses on the fact that cash will decline to a great extent amid COVID-19 outbreak. This, in turn, will ramp up the central bank’s struggle to adopt digital money.

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End of Hard Cash

The CEO of UnionBank explains in an interview with Euromoney that it is difficult for the Central Bank to provide people with hard cash living in 20 different islands in the times of strict lockdown measures amid Coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, in these conditions, the best alternative is to use digital services.

Bautista hopes that finance giants will have to adopt the digital money that may be cryptocurrency or central bank digital currency (CBDC).

The UnionBank president commented:

‘’One key realization here is that the longer the disruption, the more tenuous the traditional cash supply chain becomes. Thus I expect that banks will be more open to testing, developing and deploying digital cash and currencies, QR codes and maybe even crypto currencies and digital tokens.’’

He conveys about the plan they are thinking about since the Coronavirus originates from the Wuhan. The bank opened ‘’command-and-control systems for our digital systems’’ and requested the staff members to work from their homes. Currently, 95% of the branches are operating while 75% of staff are working remotely.

‘’The preparations have been effective thus far and have enabled me, my chief technology officer [Henry Aguda] and our management committee to pretty much run the bank at this very challenging time away from our desks,’’ he said.

Shift to Digital Banking

The crisis following the worldwide spreading Coronavirus outbreak could shift the central banks to the digital world and UnionBank is already making strategic measures to handle the situation.

He said:

‘’For UnionBank this could be the tipping point where we will be able to capitalize on the digital infrastructure that we already have in place to offer more banking services to more people, more cost-effectively.’’

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