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AUB gets remittance boost from fintechs, digital channels

Asia United Bank (AUB), one of the Philippines’ fastest-growing publicly listed banks, is confident of sustaining the growth of its remittance business, which defied the overall downtrend in remittances in 2020.

Thanks to family-loving overseas Filipinos who are increasingly turning to digital channels, AUB’s remittance business breached the billion-dollar mark for the first time in 2020, posting $1.2 billion in remittance volume. This was a whopping 99% jump from the previous year’s $642.3 million.

AUB also expects the number of its remittance transactions this year to increase by nearly 20% to four million from 3.4 million in 2020 which represented a 120% jump from the 2019 level.

While its traditional remittance partners were forced to close their branches due to the pandemic, AUB still managed to gain traction by on-boarding 22 new partners. In 2020, 42% of its transaction volume came from its new remittance partners.

Behind its buoyant business is AUB’s GintongHatid Remittance System, a highly integrated remittance facility that enables AUB to offer rapid transaction processing time, convenient delivery methods, and a user-friendly online platform.

GintongHatid provides a variety of remittance modes for customers to transfer money to and from the Philippines: through online, special express package, ATM/Cash Card, domestic call center, 24/7 remittance operations, and other related services. Deposits to the Bank, fund transfers to other BancNet member banks, and direct deposit services are completed instantly. Cash pick-up transactions are available real time to more than 10,000 accredited payout partners, as well as door-to-door cash delivery and pick up to AUB branches.

AUB’s performance defied the 2020 industry downtrend induced by the COVID-19 global pandemic. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported that overseas Filipinos sent home $33.194 billion in 2020, lower by 0.8% than the year prior. This comprised 9.2% of the country’s GDP output and 8.5% of its gross national income, it added. The slight decline in remittances was due to land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more who remitted less because of the global economic slowdown.

As of end-April 2021, cash remittances rose to $2.305 billion from $2.046 billion a year earlier. This was a 12.7% jump, the fastest since November 2016 and reflecting the global economic recovery amid a coronavirus pandemic, according to the BSP.

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