A financial expert wants to transform PH banking

A Singapore-based fintech startup, led by banking veteran Manish Bhai, wants to transform the banking industry in the Philippines and serve the unbanked population through digital solutions like artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Manish Bhai, Founder and Managing Director of UNO Digital Bank

“Using AI and machine learning will allow us to apply advanced processes and systems that enable smooth yet secure customer onboarding, transaction authorizations, data-driven alternative credit scoring, customization of products and interfaces with advanced security, risk and privacy management models,” said Manish Bhai, Founder and Managing Director of UNO Digital Bank.

Bhai is a co-founder of Singapore-based fintech company UNOAsia Pte. Ltd., one of the founders of UNO Digital Bank.

The digital bank offers a mobile app and card that allows customers to save, borrow, transact, invest and protect their finances quickly and easily.

Bhai, who has 27 years of expertise in the financial services, banking and technology industry with a C-level engagement in the Asian banking ecosystem, describes UNO Digital Bank as a full-spectrum digital bank focused on the licensed credit from Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

“We will provide a simple user interface to enable our customers to save, borrow, transact, invest, and more, providing a way to manage their finances quickly and easily. Our customers will be able to access and take advantage of the products and services we offer using only a smart phone and Internet access. They can take advantage of all the services we have wherever they are, whenever they want,” says Bhai, who worked at Citigroup for two decades before embarking on his entrepreneurial quest.

Uno Digital Bank is expected to launch in the second quarter. Formerly known as UNObank, it has adopted a new name and visual identity and refreshed its color scheme to signify the aspects of financial needs, which is to manage, develop, operate and secure money.

“We are a credit-focused digital bank, pioneering an elevated approach to banking: one that makes meeting life’s financial needs simple and accessible for the customer, while fueling growth and innovation in the area. These are the attributes that we have reflected in the new brand,” says Bhai.

Target market

Bhai says the bank’s key market is the unbanked and underserved population. “Some of the reasons people stay unbanked are lack of documentation requirements, costs associated with opening and maintaining an account, and limited awareness and knowledge of financial products and services. all of this into consideration when creating our products. Account opening will be easy and convenient and education will be a major pillar of our marketing programs,” he says.

“We will also target consumers who are tired of the traditional way of doing things. Those looking for a bank that is tech-focused yet welcoming, inclusive and will grow with them as they transition through the different stages of their lives,” says Bhai.

He says the UNO digital bank will be launched towards the end of the second quarter of this year, and things are moving in that direction.

“We are grateful for the support of many industry players. We have signed partnerships with local and international companies to bring the best possible product to our consumers from launch,” he says.

UNO Digital Bank has partnered with Mastercard to launch Mastercard Debit Card, a savings and transaction account. “Then we will roll out more products over the rest of the year,” Bhai says.

“As a credit-focused bank, lending products are a high priority with an expected launch in Q3. We are also forging partnerships to build a robust ecosystem, and these will also be announced in due course,” says -he.

The UN team

UNO was granted a digital banking license under Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Digital Banking License in June 2021. “Since then, we have built a team to create UNO Digital Bank, which we renamed UNObank earlier this year,” says Bhai.

UNO Digita Bank quickly assembled its management team in record time to build relationships with banking and financial services as well as the broader business community in the Philippines.

“Our leadership team is made up of people with over 300 years of combined banking and fintech experience. They are subject matter experts and seasoned industry practitioners who know both local and regional markets. The experience was essential to quickly put in place strong policies and processes covering all aspects of security and controls,” says Bhai.

Composable bank

Bhai says the strategy behind UNO Digital Bank is called composable banking, “where we identify the best solutions and compose a complete banking solution based on smaller pieces of proprietary solutions or new technology solutions. We created a champion challenger strategy to determine which solution works best and taking into account that we should be able to replace it. »

“The composable bank ensures that we build small pieces of solutions, which we can choose and replace as new technologies and new champions come to market. The development time for these solutions is shorter, allowing us to bring products to market faster,” he says.

Bhai says they make sure safety and security are of paramount importance in their thought process. “It’s not an afterthought. When our technology team discusses a feature, an IT development, a business process, we look at it first and foremost from a security perspective. “, he says.

“From a technological perspective, we have integrated several layers of security architecture, each associated with a security policy, and we have tools and mechanisms to monitor, control and identify possible security breaches. . We are structured to always stay up to date on new technologies, especially from a security point of view, with a composable banking approach,” he explains.

Bhai says the plan is to continually expand the Filipino team. “We completed our management team, and now they are building their own respective teams. We have hired about 50 people in the Philippines since October 2021,” he says.