Bank of the Philippines Islands believes its customers will still be doing the bulk of their transactions outside of branches even after the pandemic.
Former BPI president Cezar Consing said the bank’s electronic transactions ( mobile, laptop, ATM, CAM or cash accept machine) surged to as much as 95.1 percent of all its transactions at the peak of last year’s enhanced community quarantine from 85.2 percent prior to the lockdown.
“Today, with the lockdowns eased, this percentage is holding at 92.3 percent. While branch transactions still account for the bulk of the value of all of the bank’s transactions, we believe that the percentage of branch transactions to total transactions will not return to pre-Covid levels,” said Consing in his farewell speech during BPI’s annual stockholders’ meeting on 22 April 2021.
The Bank’s many years of investment in technology, and digitalization in particular, became readily apparent to our customers and the market in 2020, as the lockdowns forced customers to transact via their mobile phones or their laptops. Prior to the lockdowns, transactions executed via the bank’s electronic channels (mobile, laptop, ATM. CAM) accounted for 85.2 percent of all transactions. At the height of the lockdowns, this percentage grew to 95.1 percent. Today, In fact, during the lockdowns, we saw thousands of customers enrolling in our digital channels every week.
BPI reported a total of 1.8 billion in online transactions in 2020 with more than half of BPI’s clients are “digitally enabled.” Its clients drove BPI’s app to the top of the charts of the App Store and Google Play.
BPI accounted for 12.6 percent of total users of Instapay, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipnas’ electronic fund transfer (EFT) service which allows customers to transfer peso funds almost instantly between accounts of participating banks.
Consing said BPI spent P500 million – from employee shuttles to workplace disinfection to extra allowances – last year just to make sure all its ATMs and CAMs were working, at least half of its branches were up (especially during the enhanced community quarantine) were open and that its head office was manned by at least 50 percent.
“These measures paid off. While about half of our employees do front-line work, only about 3.5 percent of all of the Bank’s employees caught Covid, with the number of those requiring hospitalization a very small percentage of those infected. Our contact tracing measures revealed that the vast majority of infections were a result of community transmission, and not incurred at work,” said Consing.