Tuesday, December 28, 2021

UnionBank acquires Citigroup’s consumer banking business in the Philippines


Insular Life Assurance Co. Ltd. (InLife) Executive Chairman Nina D. Aguas, first female regional audit director in Citibank as well as the first woman country manager in Citibank Philippines, shares her excitement after Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) announced that it has entered into an agreement with Citigroup Inc. (Citi) to acquire Citi’s consumer banking business in the country. Together with the Aboitiz and SSS, Insular Life Assurance is a key shareholder in UnionBank.

Citi started in the Philippines in July 1902 when the International Banking Corporation, forerunner of Citibank, established a branch in Manila. Today, Citi Philippines is the largest foreign bank in the country in terms of customers, assets, and revenues.

Citi Philippines is an acknowledged leader in consumer banking owing to its enviable track record for innovation and customer service. It offers a full range of world-class banking products and services, including credit cards and Citigold Wealth Management.

Citi Philippines was the first consumer banking business established by technology pioneer and visionary John Reed in Asia. It is one of Citi’s crown jewels in Asia, so bequeathing this business to UnionBank says a lot about how much confidence and
trust Citi’s management has for the new owner” said Aguas, one of Forbes Asia’s 25 most influential persons in 2020.

In a text message to her fellow former Citibankers, Aguas also assures her fellow Citi Alums that UnionBank will continue to build on the successes of Citi. The legacy, the culture of professionalism, innovation and impact to the community lives on. Quite a number of former Citibankers hold Board and Senior Executive positions in UnionBank.

Prior to being InLife’s executive chairman, Aguas was Citigroup Inc.’s Managing Director for Corporate Center Compliance in New York; Country Business Manager of Global Consumer Group in the Philippines; Head of Sales & Distribution of Global Consumer Group in the Philippines; and Regional Audit Director of Asia Pacific. Aguas is Citibank’s 2021 Distinguished Alumni for Leadership & Ingenuity.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

UnionBank acquires Citigroup’s consumer banking business in the Philippines

UnionBank of the Philippines announced today that it has entered into a Share and Business Transfer Agreement with various subsidiaries of Citigroup Inc. (Citi) to acquire Citi’s consumer banking business in the Philippines.

The transaction includes Citi’s credit card, personal loans, wealth management, and retail deposit businesses. The acquisition also includes Citi’s real estate interests in relation to Citibank Square in Eastwood, 3 full service bank branches, 5 wealth centers, and 2 bank branch lites.

Erramon Isidro M. Aboitiz, Chairman of UnionBank, said, “This acquisition further cements our position as a leading bank in the Philippines, as well as fast-tracks our growth aspirations in the retail banking segment.”

Edwin R. Bautista, President and Chief Executive Officer of UnionBank, highlighted that, “Citibank Philippines has a great, profitable and well-run retail portfolio. It has the 3rd largest credit card franchise and is a pre-eminent wealth management provider in the Philippines. We look forward to this game-changing opportunity to leapfrog our credit card business and significantly expand our banking business in the higher end segment of the consumer market.”

Mr. Bautista added, “There are clear synergistic opportunities in this engagement. We intend to learn from Citi’s expertise to enable UnionBank to effectively build on its success and take the business to the next level. As we embark on this journey, we are committed to retain all of Citi’s key talents and uphold the superior customer experience that Citi has delivered to its customers over the years.”

Approximately 1,750 Citi employees, including senior management, are expected to join UnionBank. Mr. Aboitiz added, “We are looking forward to welcoming all employees to the UnionBank family. With the strong cultural similarities between the organizations, we believe Citi’s employees will feel at home at UnionBank.”

UnionBank is the 7th largest publicly-listed bank in the Philippines and widely recognized to be the leading digitally transformed and most innovative bank in the industry.

Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) has always been among the first to embrace technological innovations to empower its customers. It embraces the future of banking and is committed to be the Philippines’ leading digitally-transformed bank to best serve the growing needs of Filipinos everywhere.

It has consistently been recognized as of one of Asia’s leading companies, ranking among the country’s top universal banks in terms of profitability and efficiency. Over the years, UnionBank has garnered a record-breaking number of awards and recognition including: "Asia Trailblazer Institution of the Year" from Retail Banker International; "Best Bank

Transformation in South East Asia 2021" from Global Banking and Finance; "Best Bank for Customer Experience in South East Asia 2021" from Global Brands Magazine; 4-Time "Digital Bank of the Year (2018-2021)" from The Asset Triple A; "Most Recommended Retail Bank in Asia Pacific 2021" from BankQuality.com; "Fastest Growing Fintech Company, South East Asia 2021" for UBX from Global Banking and Finance; back-to-back "Best Bank for SMEs" (2020-2021) from Asiamoney; "SME Bank of the Year - Philippines 2021" from Asian Banking and Finance; “Asia’s Best Bank Transformation” from Euromoney; "Asia-Pacific Retail Bank of the Year" from Retail Banker International; "Top 2 Most Helpful Banks in Asia Pacific during COVID-19" from BankQuality.com; "Asia Pacific Digital Trailblazer" for UnionBank and "DX CEO Asia Pacific" for President and CEO Edwin R. Bautista from IDC Asia Pacific DX Awards; "Best Digital Community Impact Initiative, South East Asia 2020" for UBX from CFI.co; "Fastest Growing Fintech Company, South East Asia 2020" for UBX from Global Brands Magazine; "2020 Digital Banker of the Year in Asia-Pacific" for President and CEO from The Asset; three-time "Best Digital Bank Philippines" from Asiamoney and International Finance Magazine; back-to-back Digital Transformer of the Year Philippines" from IDC DX Awards Philippines; "Best Retail Bank Philippines 2020" from Global Banking and Finance, The Asian Banker and The Digital Banker; "Domestic Retail Bank of the Year Philippines" from Asian Banking & Finance; back-to-back "Best Digital Bank Philippines" & "Most Innovative Cash Management Services Bank Philippines" from Global Banking and Finance; "#1 Best Service

Domestic Bank in the Philippines" at the 2020 Asiamoney Cash Management Survey; and "Employer of the Year" awards from Stevie Awards for Great Employers, Asian Banking and Finance, and HR Asia.

UnionBank stands firm in its promise to power the future of banking through "Tech-Up Pilipinas" to best serve the growing needs of Filipinos everywhere, while pioneering innovations for a better world.

As of 30 June 2021, Citi’s consumer banking business has total assets of Php 89.5 billion including gross loans of Php 59.7 billion, total liabilities of Php 71.7 billion including deposits of Php 67.8 billion, investment AUM of Php 95.0 billion, and a customer base of close to 1 million.

The transaction will be effected via (i) an asset and liability transfer of the consumer banking activities of Citibank, N.A., Philippines Branch, (ii) the sale of the shares in Citicorp Financial Services and Insurance Brokerage Philippines, Inc., and (iii) and the sale of Citibank Square building.

UnionBank will pay a cash consideration for the net assets of the Citi Philippines consumer business (subject to customary closing adjustments) plus a premium of PHP 45.3 billion. Based on the anticipated increase in risk-weighted assets, the required equity is approximately Php 9.7 billion as of 30 June 2021.

The acquisition is expected to be financed via a combination of internal resources and a stock rights offering (SRO). The Bank’s key shareholders – Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Insular Life Assurance, and Social Security System – are fully committed to the SRO.

The transaction with Citi is expected to close in the second half of 2022. Completion is subject to regulatory approvals, including from the Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Philippine Competition Commission, Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation, Securities and Exchange Commission, and Insurance Commission.

Citi will continue to operate its consumer banking business in the Philippines until completion of the acquisition, with no immediate changes in the way it serves its customers. All consumer banking operations, including call centers, Citibank online and mobile banking services, will continue to serve

Citi’s customers as usual. Customers will be contacted in the coming months with more details. Citi will continue to operate its institutional business in the Philippines.

Morgan Stanley is acting as exclusive international financial advisor to UnionBank in respect of the transaction. Milbank LLP and Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & de los Angeles are acting as legal advisors to UnionBank in respect of the transaction.

Achievements, future projects take the spotlight at UnionBank’s E-TalkTales year-ender event


In celebration of its numerous accomplishments and milestones this past year, and to give a small preview of what its customers can expect in 2022, Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) held another iteration of its long-running virtual media roundtable series E-TalkTales last December 15.

During the virtual event, UnionBank Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Technology and Operations Officer, and Chief Transformation Officer Henry Aguda talked about some of the Bank's achievements for the year, while the Co-Founder and CEO of UnionBank's digital-native banking arm UnionDigitalArvie de Vera, talked about the role that the newly formed digital bank will play in UnionBank's digital transformation journey going forward.

Aguda began the discussion by recounting how UnionBank's digital transformation journey has enabled it to brave 2020 and the equally challenging 2021. " The pandemic created this shift to digital, which we now refer to as the “new digital normal”. We changed the way we live, the way we travel, the way we
interact with one another, and basically we've changed forever in terms of how we transact in the financial sector. "

" But even before the pandemic, UnionBank already had this forward-looking view that digital is the way for us to move forward, and when the pandemic hit, not only did we survive, but I'm happy to say that the Bank actually thrived, " according to Aguda.

He then highlighted the top 10 most notable achievements of UnionBank in 2021. These include being the only publicly listed Philippine bank to be granted a license to operate a digital-native bank; the
successful groundbreaking of the UnionBank Innovation Campus, the country's first-ever learning institution focused on digital innovation; and having 21 patents for its innovative offers already approved and 18 more on the way.

Other notable achievements include the integration of Instapay 2.0 into its digital banking platform; the successful launch of the UnionBank SME Banking App; the launch of wealth management educational campaigns including the NextGen Academy; significant user growths for UBX’s platforms SeekCap, Bux, and Sentro; and the significant increase in its customer base to almost 10 million to date, from just nearly 7 million as of end-2020.

Meanwhile, de Vera provided a quick introduction to UnionDigital. UnionDigital is one of only six financial institutions in the Philippines that have officially been granted digital banking licenses by the Bangko Central ng Pilipinas to date. As UnionBank's digital banking arm, UnionDigital will focus on delivering banking and financial services to underserved sectors which the parent bank is not able to optimally cater to.

" While UnionDigital aims to empower the country's digital economy, we also aim to elevate it by bringing trust and governance into the space. We embrace innovation like a fintech, but offer all the powers, experience, and track record of a fully regulated bank,” de Vera said.

“ At the heart of our work will always be the desire to provide our customers with what they want and what they need, while ensuring that they have what they need in terms of security, compliance with regulation, and proper governance, " de Vera added.

In terms of what customers can expect from the Bank and its subsidiaries in 2022, some of the things that Aguda and de Vera gave a sneak preview of were the Bank's possible foray into non-fungible tokens (NFTs), several new solutions aimed at helping workers in the thriving gig economy through EON, and participating in the growing interest and opportunities relating to the metaverse, just to name a few.

UnionBank Chief Marketing Officer Albert Cuadrante capped off the event with a promise that the Bank will continue to do even better in 2022 in terms of delivering great customer experience across channels
and platforms. He also reiterated that " UnionBank’s goal is not just to help people survive, but to actually enable them to thrive in this new environment through the latest financial technologies; staying true to our commitment to “Tech-up Pilipinas!”

" I hope you are as eager as I am to welcome 2022. What I can promise you is that what you heard today is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a lot more exciting news you can look forward to from UnionBank, " Cuadrante concluded.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Get your fave SPLAT toothpastes at up to 21% off on 12.12

For more than 20 years, SPLAT has been ethically and scientifically developing professional oral care solutions for the whole family. A global pioneer in natural oral care, SPLAT is currently present in 70 European and Asian countries.

SPLAT is a family-run business that strives to create the very best products that will provide healthy oral care solutions and will promote some happiness around the world, one smile at a time.

The brand is finally in the Philippines and you can get their products for up to 21% off this December exclusively at Watsons stores or online at Watsons Lazada & Shopee or ShopSM.

Every product developed in SPLAT laboratory is targeted at the most effective solution of various oral care-related tasks. To achieve the highest efficacy of each product, SPLAT collaborated with leading dentists and specialized institutes of the whole world.

For you and your family, go for SPLAT toothpastes that use natural antibacterial agents and ingredients for gentle teeth whitening. SPLAT's toothpastes, mouthwashes and foams contain natural ingredients, essential oils and medicinal plant extracts.

SPLAT toothpastes don’t contain SLES, triclosan, chlorhexidine, aluminum lactate, peroxide, petroleum-derived products, synthetic antiseptic agents, sodium lauryl sulfate and saccharinate. These are ingredients that could potentially harm humans, animals, and the planet.

Give your kids the gift of healthy teeth and gums with SPLAT Kids Natural Toothpaste in Strawberry-Cherry and Fruit Ice-Cream flavors, which make brushing fun for kids. The natural toothpaste is hypoallergenic and safe if accidentally swallowed.

All SPLAT Bio-Active Toothpastes of PROFESSIONAL series contain patented SP. White System® to ensure safe whitening.

Each product is specifically aim at a certain oral problem; therefore, you can easily find a product, satisfying your special hygienic requirements

SPLAT Professional WHITE PLUS Toothpaste with rounded polishing particles in combination with PVP whitening component and natural papaya enzymes noticeably whiten tooth enamel, break up dental plaque in hard-to-reach places and make tooth surface perfectly smooth and white. This is a perfect choice for coffee and tea lovers.

SPLAT Professional SENSITIVE WHITE Toothpaste with hydroxyapatite and natural enzyme system
effectively break up the dental plaque and reduce sensitivity.

SPLAT Professional BIOCALCIUM Toothpaste restores enamel and reduces tooth sensitivity. Bioactive calcium obtained from eggshell and hydroxyapatite, a building component of tooth enamel. High content of these ingredients makes it possible to strengthen enamel and reduce hypersensitivity.

SPLAT Professional MEDICAL HERBS emerald-colored gel toothpaste contains extracts of sage, chamomile and hawthorn for effective gums and teeth care. Calcium obtained from eggshell accelerates mineralization and strengthens enamel.

SPLAT Professional LAVENDERSEPT toothpaste with bioactive calcium reduces tooth hypersensitivity. Lavender, rosemary, and thyme essential oils promote healthy gums. Papain natural enzyme gently whitens and polishes enamel to a shiny white.

SPLAT GREEN TEA toothpaste containing green tea extracts, sage and chamomile has a soothing effect on gums. Natural pearl contains calcium which strengthens teeth.

Enjoy discounts of up to 21% this December exclusively at Watsons stores or online at Watsons on Lazada and Shopee or ShopSM.

Get the best natural high-quality toothpastes, such as the bestselling SPLAT Professional White Plus Toothpaste and the Professional Sensitive White Toothpaste, at discounted prices only for this month at only PHP 149 and PHP148 for 50ml KIDS toothpaste with even more discounts on 12.12.

That's not all—get cash rebates and further discounts when you buy selected SPLAT toothpastes from Lazada and Shopee on 12.12 from 12am to 2am.

Get the SPLAT Kids Natural Toothpaste in Fruit Ice-Cream flavor (50ml) for Php138 with Php47 rebate. Get SPLAT Professional Biocalcium Enamel Restoration and Safe Whitening, SPLAT Professional White Plus, SPLAT Professional Maximum and SPLAT Professional Lavendersept for Php139 with a Php50 rebate.

In the Philippines, SPLAT is exclusively distributed by ABGPH Corp. and is now available exclusively at selected Watsons online and offline.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

realme reunites fans with their families in heartwarming Christmas video


This Christmas, there truly is no better gift than the gift of family. The holiday season is the perfect time to bring families together, and reconnect with our loved ones especially during these challenging times. There is, however, an unfortunate reality that some of us do not have the means to go home to our families, and are forced to spend Christmas away from their loved ones.

This is why realme, the country’s no. 1 smartphone brand for three consecutive quarters in 2021, recently sought out Squad members with inspiring stories to give them the opportunity to be reunited with their families for the holidays. Two lucky fans were chosen and realme, in partnership with Mitsubishi Motors Philippines, finally brought them home to their families after several years.

The reunion was featured in a heartwarming video posted on December 5 on realme Philippines’ official Facebook page and YouTube channel. The video also features the winning entry from the brand’s recently concluded #realmeWithYou Christmas Songwriting Contest where aspiring musicians and composers got the chance to compose their own title lyrics for realme’s official Christmas track.

This initiative is in part of the brand’s #realmeWithYou holiday campaign that aims to spread the love and give back to its loyal fans for their unwavering support. “The holiday season is all about love and togetherness. We hope that through this simple gesture, we were able to help make Christmas more special for our ever supportive fans, and be one with them in the most wonderful time of the year,” shares Austine Huang, realme Philippines’ VP for Marketing.

To get the latest updates and announcements from the country’s no. 1 smartphone brand, Facebook page at http://facebook.com/realmePhilippines and visit the official realme website at https://www.realme.com/ph/. #realmeWithYou