One of the greatest benefits of digital transformation for banks is that it can help them extend services across vast distances, including to customers living in remote locations.\nThe desire to provide a better experience to all customers regardless of their location was a key reason why Union Bank of the Philippines embarked on its digital transformation strategy five years ago.\nUnionBank\u2019s Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Technology and Operations Officer, and Chief Transformation Officer, Henry R. Aguda, says going digital was identified as a way to make everything easier for customers.\n Huawei\n\u201cWe saw that only 1% of payments were accomplished digitally and we knew that something had to be done,\u201d Aguda says. \u201cInstead of building more branches, we focused on going digital for a better banking experience and to service more people.\u201d\nPartnering for Success\nHuawei has been a key partner in UnionBank\u2019s digital transformation, especially for achieving its vision of network transformation.\n\u201cWe remain uncompromising and keen in choosing partners,\u201d Aguda says. \u201cWe partner with organisations and companies that are aligned with our vision, security, and thrust for inclusive prosperity, and for being agile.\u201d\nTogether, the two organisations have achieved incredible results. By the end of March 2021, UnionBank had onboarded 2.4 million customers to UnionBank Online - a 339% increase compared to December 2019, with just over a quarter of customers opening their accounts through the bank\u2019s app. By March 2021, digital transactions had grown 380% over December 2019 to reach 6.6 million per month.\nDigital transformation has also helped UnionBank\u2019s workforce. During the pandemic UnionBank was one of the first banks to transition to work-from-home, enabling 86% of its workforce immediately.\nAguda says this would not have been possible without UnionBank\u2019s network transformation and implementation of a next-generation security technology to protect employees outside the corporate network. He says the partnership with Huawei has allowed the network architecture to evolve to provide secured, 24\/7 availability, six sigma reliability, and T+0 service delivery.\nAt the same time, Aguda says the pandemic has encouraged the Filipino people to be more accepting of banking online.\n"The digital transformation that UnionBank started five years ago prepared us for the biggest disruption that the whole world is facing today,\u201d Aguda says. \u201cOur transformation has set our digital banking technology in place, paving the way for us to continue serving the public\u2019s banking needs despite the limitations of these uncertain times.\u201d\nTrue Transformation\nAguda says one of the keys to successful transformation is to keep watch for emerging technologies and make the necessary preparations for them to flourish. UnionBank has woven many new technologies into its transformation, including artificial intelligence and blockchain, to create cost efficient and secure solutions for customers.\n\u201cIt is about being lightning-quick,\u201d Aguda says. \u201cBe first to do it and do it well. Digital transformation is not an easy, one-time task. It is a continuous process of learning and adapting. You have to dedicate time, effort, and capital.\n\u00a0\u201cThat is why it is important that the organisations we partner with have the same level of commitment and mindset as our organisation,\u201d Aguda says. \u201cAgain, it\u2019s all about being lightning-quick, and Huawei has always been able to provide that same level of commitment and mindset to our organisation.\u201d\nAnd he says investing in the organisation\u2019s people is also vital. By first focusing on training people to be ready for transformation, Aguda says UnionBank mitigated potential troubles before they arose.\n\u201cThe valuable thing that this pandemic has taught us is that people just need to come together,\u201d Aguda says. \u201cTo weather this crisis, we have to have a culture to learn. And never fear the unknown, because if we fear the unknown, we won't be able to invent, innovate, and discover.\u201d\nAn Inclusive Future\nThe transformation has enhanced UnionBank\u2019s vision of creating a more inclusive organisation, which is brought to life through its\u00a0fintech\u00a0spin-off, UBX. Aguda says UBX\u2019s financial platform i2i grew by 2,769% in signups, while its BUX payment gateway has grown 170% signups from just a couple hundred in 2019.\nAlso, UBX\u2019s Sentro online shop builder grew its customer base by 241% after just one year, and its SeekCap online lending marketplace has grown by 800% users since 2019.\n\u00a0\u201cUBX is working on a lot of projects geared towards building new technologies to improve the way we transact,\u201d Aguda says. \u201cIn these projects, we aim to create the most efficient ways and provide better solutions to problems.\u201d\nUnionBank is also improving the financial landscape for entrepreneurs and smaller businesses by providing them with better banking experiences, and is entering the insurance market building a marketplace for insurance companies and consumers.\nImportantly, Aguda says UnionBank is delivering on its promise of bringing modern financial technology practices to rural areas.\n\u201cThe possibilities are endless, and we want to be there in every industry where digital transformation and innovation is needed,\u201d Aguda says.