SANTIAGO JOSE J. ARNAIZ
ING BANK N.V.-Manila sees opportunity in the domestic retail space amid its push to tap the banking needs of “digital-ready” Filipinos.
In a roundtable discussion on Tuesday, ING Bank Country Manager in the Philippines Hans B. Sicat said the current economic expansion in the country is a “great opportunity” for the global financial firm to venture into the retail space.
“I think it’s a great time for us at ING because in a time of the economy, it presents a lot of opportunity…. It’s not just the corporate market that really is the opportunity space but also the individual market,” Mr. Sicat told reporters during the launch of its savings account product held in Taguig.
He explained in a statement that the Philippines is on its way to become an upper middle income economy, with Filipinos having more disposable income.
The Finance department said the country will likely achieve “upper-middle income” status — having a per capita income of between $3,896 and $12,055 — within the year, three years ahead of the original schedule of 2022.
According to latest World Bank data, the country’s gross national income per capita was at $3,660 as of 2017.
“ING want to encourage more Filipinos to save by giving an attractive interest rate of 2.5% per annum with no minimum amount and no lock-in period,” Mr. Sicat added.
ING introduced yesterday its all-digital savings account product that allows clients to open accounts and transfer funds via their mobile phones.
It on-boards clients through scanning of a valid government ID. The mobile platform also allows the savings account to receive money through digital check scanning as well as fund transfers via PESONet and Instapay, automated clearing houses initiated by the central bank.
Mohamed Keraine, ING Philippines’ head of retail, said the bank’s digital banking platform targets Filipinos who are “digital-ready.”
Eventually, ING said it will likely offer other retail banking products such as loans and investments.
“Lending is on the roadmap for sure in a bit…,” Mr. Keraine said. “How soon do we see ourselves offering lending? We’re working really hard on it. I think by the beginning of next year, we will have something in the market for sure.”
Late last month, Malaysian financial giant CIMB Bank launched its banking operations in the country as an all-digital and mobile-first retail bank.
ING Bank offers retail and wholesale banking services in over 40 countries. It has been operating in the Philippines as a wholesale lender since 1990.
ING Bank-Manila was the 30th biggest commercial bank in the country in asset terms at P24.15 billion as of end-2018. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal