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FINOVATION 2019: Fintech players form strategic partnership for greater financial inclusion

(L-R) Richard Lauder, Senior Vice President for Finance, C88 Financial Technologies Inc.; Ched Limson, COO, eCompareMo; Stephanie Chung, Co-Founder & CEO, eCompareMo; Benjamin Diokno, Governor, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas; J.P. Ellis, Co-Founder & Group CEO, C88 Financial Technologies, Inc.; and Patrick Chua, President, Snapcompare Corp. , the leading online financial marketplace in the country, once again gathered key industry stakeholders, policymakers, regulators, and cooperatives at  Finovation 2019, to discuss financial trends, industry challenges, and possible solutions to improve credit access among financially underserved Filipinos.

Held last September 25, 2019, at the Rigodon Ballroom of the Manila Peninsula, the annual fintech forum gathered key stakeholders from the banking and insurance industries, regulators and policymakers, cooperatives, and fintech players. Finovation facilitated thought leadership to generate relevant solutions for increased financial inclusion, focusing on improving credit access among financially underserved Filipinos. 

Finovation 2019 Keynote Speaker, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno

Staying ahead of the innovation curve,, through its parent company C88 Financial Technologies, Inc., partnered with global consumer credit reporting company Experian in 2018. This tech-driven collaboration has allowed to evolve from being a product-focused price comparison website to a customer-centric underwriting marketplace. 

J.P. Ellis, Co-Founder and Group CEO of C88 Financial Technologies, Inc., highlights this partnership as he discusses their new digital onboarding family of products at Finovation 2019: Real Problems, Real Solutions.

J.P. Ellis, Co-Founder & Group CEO, C88 Financial Technologies, Inc,talks about digital onboarding for financial services.

Digital onboarding: a pioneering effort

Through its partnership with Experian, enables digital applications, onboarding, and decisioning for banks and financial institutions. This covers basic identification, verification, information gathering, and documentation, making a full online application possible. 

Believing that Manila is a prime hub for digital transformation, Ellis believes that digital onboarding is a perfect fit for the country, bringing in a variety of benefits for both consumers and issuing financial institutions. “Digital onboarding represents the next generation of our platform,” says the group CEO in a media interview during Finovation. “It is a sequence of fintech steps through which financial institutions can acquire customers, validate, score, and underwrite them.” 

Christo Georgiev, Country Manager and Chief Strategist of FinScore, discusses telco credit scoring during Finovation 2019.

Likening the process to Lego blocks, Ellis explains that digital onboarding can be constructed depending on either the customer’s profile or the product being acquired. The process, he emphasizes, makes the customer experience more native and convenient; on the other hand, expediting financial transactions digitally helps curb costs and processing time for financial institutions. 

Government support and partnerships for fintech

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) actively supports initiatives like digital onboarding, recognizing fintech players as key partners for financial inclusion. In his keynote speech for Finovation, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno emphasizes that the country’s central bank adopts an open and flexible approach to financial innovation. The governor notes that fintech plays a crucial role in strengthening inclusion, an agenda in line with the BSP’s policy objective of building an accommodating financial system for more Filipinos. 

Taking on a forward-looking approach, Diokno raises the challenge of promoting fintech while simultaneously planning regulatory procedures for upcoming innovations. In this way, the digital financial ecosystem of the future becomes a safe, secure, affordable, and convenient mechanism that addresses the needs of a diverse market. Complementing existing and emerging fintech initiatives, Diokno shares the National Retail Payment System (NRPS), the BSP’s flagship program for digital finance. 

At Roundtable 1 discussion with moderator Vince Rapisura, President and Founder of Social Enterprise Development Partnerships, Inc. (SEDPI) together with panelists: Pia Roman-Tayag, Managing Director, Center for Learning and Inclusion Advocacy (CLIA); Mags Vasquez-Surtida, FVP, Cards Business Group Head, Asia United Bank; Harvey Libarnes, VP-Financial Service Head, Smart Communications Inc.; Hamilton Angluben, General Manager, Cashalo and Stephanie Chung, Co-Founder & CEO, eCompareMo.

“The NRPS is built on three core principles: interoperability, inclusiveness, and ‘coopetition,’” Diokno shares. “Through the NRPS, regulated institutions are required to adopt transparent and fair market pricing of electronic payments, transition from exclusive bilateral to multi-party clearinghouse agreements, and provide electronic fund transfer facilities in all available channels, among others.”

The governor notes that the NRSP and the payment ecosystem envisioned to arise from it are positioned to become crucial platforms for further innovations. Through these, he says that industry players can utilize fintech solutions and provide services within an organized, commercially viable, and efficient retail payment system.

(L-R) J.P. Ellis, Founder & Group CEO, C88 Financial Technologies, Inc.; Simone Colombara, Managing Director, CRIF Corporation; Marty Gonzalez, Head of Integrated Solutions Group, TransUnion; Atty. Aileen Amor-Bautista, Credit Information Corporation; Marlo Cruz, President and CEO, CIBI Information Inc.

Looking ahead: the future of fintech in the Philippines

With strategic collaborations and government support at hand, moves forward in the digital sphere with confidence. Now with over thirty-five financial institutions fortifying their inventory of financial services, the comparison portal wishes to consistently make its clients feel fulfilled as they make major financial decisions through their website.

Jaime Garchitorena, President and CEO, Credit Information Corporation and Ira Paulo Gozon, Chief of Staff, Anti-Red Tape Authority discusses about Future Forward: Regulators’ Projects and Platforms.

“Apart from giving them access to an ever-growing number of digital consumers, we have been providing technology solutions to financial institutions, among which digital onboarding is arguably the most significant to date,” says Stephanie Chung, Co-Founder and CEO of “Our experience as a digital sales agency enables us to develop efficient, effective and compliant workflow systems to capture and process customer credit applications online. Our suite of solutions caters to financial institutions of any size, including cooperatives.”

“There is a lot more to do and we are looking forward to sharing and celebrating these future milestones with everyone in the industry at the appropriate times,” Chung concludes. 

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