By Doris Dumlao-Abadilla, March 27 2019; Philippine Daily Inquirer

Image Credit to Manila Times

Under the leadership of its new president Cezar Consing, the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) plans to roll out this year a blockchain-powered identification (ID) registry, a master database seen to be the foundation for e-KYC (electronic know-your-customer).

Consing, president of Bank of the Philippine Islands, has taken over the helm of BAP from BDO Unibank’s Nestor Tan.

During the BAP annual membership meeting held on March 25, Consing expressed his gratitude to Tan for his “steadfast leadership” for three consecutive years. It was during Tan’s term that the BAP developed the BAP ID registry mechanism and increased its focus on cybersecurity.

Consing now looks forward to the launch of the digital banking ID registry this year in line with the BAP’s vow to pursue innovation and financial inclusion for the benefit of the country.

“The Philippine banking industry is transforming itself so as to continue to be relevant to one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Digitalization, cybersecurity, and financial liberalization are issues foremost on bankers’ minds. The overall objective is increasing financial inclusion—the imperative of our times,” said Consing.

The BAP ID registry, in particular, is seen to support e-KYC and other future-use cases. This facility, powered by blockchain technology, is seen to make it easier and faster for clients to open accounts and avail themselves of banking services with BAP’s member banks.

The technology employs an unalterable distributed ledger of transactions used to ascertain and vet transactions and client identity. Several of the BAP member banks are already developing the systems to be able to interface with the ID registry.

Consing said the BAP would also jumpstart its campaign on cybersecurity and focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) projects.

The BAP membership also elected the following officers to the association: Antonio Moncupa Jr. of Eastwest Bank as first vice president; Fabian Dee of Metrobank as second vice president and treasurer, and Enrico S. Cruz of Deutsche Bank AG Manila branch as secretary.

The BAP’s new board also included executive representatives from the following banks: ANZ, Bank of Commerce, Citibank, Development Bank of the Philippines, Maybank, Philippine National Bank, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., Robinsons Bank, Security Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and Union Bank.

The BAP has been actively representing the industry’s position in policy development. In 2018, the BAP accomplished the following:

introduced the PHP BVAL (Philippines peso Bloomberg valuation service) Reference Rates as the benchmark for government securities (GS);

acquired license from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as benchmark administrator for the GS benchmarks;

contributed to the launch of the Bureau of Treasury’s National Registry of Scripless Securities; -advocated the streamlining of regulatory requirements for bond issuances;

continued to administer the organized dollar-peso spot market, and

held proactive dialogues with regulators and legislators for taxation, mandatory lending and Basel 3 implementation.