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HomeFeatureRCBC pioneers "phygital" banking to serve far-flung communities

RCBC pioneers “phygital” banking to serve far-flung communities

MAKATI CITY, Philippines, 3 October 2022—The Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) officially launched its physical-digital banking service called Moneybela Barangayan Banking at the RCBC Plaza in Makati City.

The Philippines’ first mobile human-assisted remote banking service, Moneybela: Barangayan Banking is part of RCBC’s continuous push to create an inclusive financial ecosystem in the country that caters to unbanked Filipinos in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas. This initiative will benefit 42,000 barangays nationwide with the opportunity to access financial services bundled with agent-assisted financial education

Moneybela’s Banking Experience Support or Moneybela BES’ agents will go to communities where banks and other financial services are not commonly accessible. It was successfully piloted in Davao City in early September this year. 

Aside from going around various communities nationwide to directly serve unbanked Filipinos, the Moneybela electric tricycles will also provide financial literacy and agent banking services in public transport terminals, public markets, schools, barangay halls, and health centers to make it accessible to as many people as possible. Top RCBC ATM Go merchant partners in all 81 provinces in the country would serve as Moneybele BES agents that will visit hard-to-reach areas to enable more Filipinos to have access to financial services.

RCBC Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation and Inclusion Officer Lito Villanueva pointed out that Moneybela gives underserved and unbanked Filipinos access to the same financial services offered by physical banks, such as basic deposit account creation, bill payments, e-load, cash in or cash out, micro insurance, and telemedicine purchase via DiskarTech.

“RCBC is excited to join the government in advancing a digitally and financially inclusive future. While these digital experiences revolutionized banking, a huge segment of our society relies on human connection. MoneyBela cuts across innovation, accessibility, and practicality. A service that passes the wheels of the future from banks to every Filipino in hard-to-reach areas,” said Villanueva.

Meanwhile, RCBC President and CEO Eugene S. Acevedo highlighted the bank’s hope to contribute to a future where all Filipinos are financially included.

“A keyword in the name of our program— manibela, or the car’s steering wheel – serves as the main inspiration of RCBC’s innovations. Just like a manibela, we are optimistic to steer Filipinos’ lives toward a direction that is empowering, inclusive, and equal for all. Where are we heading? Towards a financially-inclusive Philippines, and as we take our journey, we need to make sure that no one is left behind.”

“This latest financial inclusion innovation supports RCBC’s thrust in promoting ESG or the environment, social, and governance within the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” Acevedo stressed.

Rallying support for Moneybela is Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Felipe M. Medalla who lauded RCBC as one of BSP’s active partner in bridging banks to the Filipinos: “I am really so happy that if there’s any bank that embodies the goal of bringing BSP closer to the people, it is RCBC. If we can only change our slogan, bringing BSP closer to the people through the institutions that it regulates. You [RCBC] deserve all the honors you are getting for combining old ideas like cash-led banking.”

Meanwhile, Secretary of Finance Benjamin Diokno commended RCBC for “bringing more Filipinos into the fold” with its ground-breaking innovations for the country’s underserved sectors, and specifically lauded RCBC’s latest project that shows that the “future of banking requires human-centric and empathy-driven design.”

“This pioneering innovation complements the Philippine government’s thrust for digital transformation and aligns with our sustainable development goals, with financial inclusion being key in achieving equality and empowerment,” Diokno added.

DSWD Undersecretary for Operations Hon. Jerico Francis L. Javier highlighted RCBC’s active role in achieving the government’s objectives: “For us in DSWD, we are beyond grateful for RCBC’s relentless dedication to innovating with a purpose. The MoneyBela Barangayan Banking will help in delivering cash assistance easier, faster, and more convenient for both the government and our kababayans.”

Senator Mark Villar, Senate Committee Chairperson on Banks, Financial Institutions, and Currencies lauded RCBC’s latest innovation that furthers financial inclusion.

“I commend RCBC for this innovation to further promote inclusive digital finance. I believe that the banking sector plays a crucial role in attaining economic stability while financial inclusion is an essential foundation for sustainable and equitable national development,” said Senator Villar.

DICT Undersecretary for eGovernment David E. Almirol lauded the banking service as a pioneering initiative from the private sector that aligns with government agenda. Undersecretary Almirol said that, “Private is actually sometimes or most of the time compared to the government. We need to privatize to approach of the government, we cannot privatize the government. We can privatize somehow the approach so that we can make things faster.”

Cooperative Development Authority Chairman Hon. Joseph Encabo was honored to be a part of RCBC’s latest “inclusive financial development for Filipinos at the countryside,” and appreciated CDA and the bank’s common objective to upscale digital and financial capacities and opportunities for every Filipino. He congratulated RCBC for the continued progress and success of MoneyBela, and admired how the financial initiative helps to “provide above standard services that every Filipino truly deserves.”

In addition, Liga ng Barangay President Eden Chua-Pineda praised the banking service for reaching people in hard-to-reach areas. She says that the initiative helps the barangay and its communities improve the quality of life through the power of financial literacy and personal connections. She expounded, “Giving rural communities valid information is a matter of personal relationships. All banks almost offer the same benefits. But with the innovation of RCBC, this is one of the laudable programs because you are reaching far-flung communities by giving them with what is due to uplift them to higher standards of living.”

RCBC’s latest inclusive innovation perfectly aligns with the government’s whole-of-nation support for the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion and the realization of the Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap with its twin outcomes of converting at least 50 percent of retail financial transactions to digital and having 70 percent of adult Filipinos to have transactional accounts and be part of the formal financial system. Among its financial inclusion partners include the Departments of the Interior and Local Governments, Social Welfare and Development, Education, Information and Communications Technology, Trade and Industry, Liga ng Barangay, League of Provinces, Cities, and Municipalities including the Cooperative Development Authority and the National Youth Commission.

RCBC now has the most extensive reach covering 100 percent of the country’s 82 provinces with its close to 1,500 RCBC ATM Go terminals through more than 900 merchant partners nationwide.

Boiler Plate

RCBC is one of the country’s fastest-growing banks, and the most awarded for its banking innova-tions. It is now the Philippines’ 6th largest privately-owned universal bank from 8th place in asset ranking in 2018. It accomplished and maintained this feat from 2020 to the present from loans and deposits even breaching the P1-Trillion asset mark by end of June 2022 despite the COVID-19 pandemic and various investment activities by competition. RCBC’s continuing digital and busi-ness transformation further enhanced its value and reach.

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