The Philippine Postal Corporation (Post Office) has partnered with UBX, an open finance platform in the Philippines, to launch ‘Kasama Lahat’, a capacity development project which will transform the Post Office into a modern hub that offers financial and data services for everyone in the community.
Postmaster General Norman Fulgencio and UBX president John Januzczak signed the agreement on July 7 that will transform each post office outlet into community financial centers, promoting financial inclusion, especially in remote areas of the country.
“The Post Office Digital Innovation signifies the commitment and support of the Post Office especially under the new administration of President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr in serving the public who deserve no less than the best postal service by global standards,” said Fulgencio.
Under the partnership, UBX will provide the necessary technical knowledge in digital finance and open finance to hasten the Post Office’s digital transformation journey. Through the Bangko sa Barangay Service of UBX, the Post Office will be able to transform its 1,300 outlets nationwide into financial hubs, offering various types of services such as disbursements, fund transfers, cash withdrawals, loan applications, payments, insurance, and collections, among others.
“This groundbreaking partnership with the Post Office reflects our strong commitment to include everyone into the country’s financial system. With its reach and data, the Post Office has the power to drive financial and social inclusion through its digital transformation initiative,” Januzczak commented.
The partnership will also empower postmen or letter carriers to become cash agents. They will be trained to provide guidance on how to apply for financial products and services, as well as to supervise the provision of these services.
In the long term, Kasama Lahat aims to establish the Post Office as Open Finance Hubs, which can process data transactions as well, such as validation of customer information for loan applications, asset validation, and even collection or debt restructuring services.
Since it was established in 2019, i2i, an open finance and payments platform, has been connecting institutions, including micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) into the country’s financial ecosystems. Now with thousands of agents and hundreds of financial institutions, it provides fund transfers, bills payments, mobile ATM, insurance and loan services which anyone can access in various banks and merchant locations nationwide.
Millions of Filipinos have been integrated into digital finance through i2i, paving the way forward to the future of open finance. Its Bangko sa Barangay service, which was launched in July of last year, turned branch networks and agent pools to become financial service providers in their communities capable of providing financial and data transactions.
These services, under Kasama Lahat, aim to transform the Post Office by putting customers to the fore through creating and innovating products and services to meet their demands, shifting the agency to a sustainable business culture, reviewing and proposing amendments to the Post Office Charter (RA 7354), and overall contributing to social inclusion in the Philippines.
With this partnership, the Post Office will also be able to establish a product line which will establish its financial independence from the budget provisioned by the government, giving the postal agency a more sustainable business culture. The profit margins will also allow it to continue its vision of modernization.
“Our digital transformation journey, powered by UBX, allows us to diversify our services beyond the Filipino people’s postal needs. With our network of over 1,300 outlets and more than 3,500 postmen, we are in a unique position to provide financial services that promote both financial and social inclusion in the country,” continued Fulgencio.
Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) shows that 47% of Filipino adults are still unbanked. The government aims to include at least 70% of Filipino adults to the country’s financial system by 2023.
“The challenge for both the public and private sectors to drive financial inclusion is daunting and it requires a strong sense of commitment and partnership to achieve this. Our partnership with the Post Office is just an example of meaningful ways to bring financial services closer to Filipinos,” Januszczak added.