Aboitiz-led Union Bank of the Philippines is launching the country’s first two-way virtual currency automated teller machine (ATM), allowing customers to purchase and sell virtual currencies for cash via an ATM machine as part of its sandbox.
UnionBank said the bank’s continued collaboration with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has allowed it to provide Filipinos with innovative solutions in line with all applicable regulations.
“In the bank’s continued quest to cater to the evolving needs and tastes of customers, including clients who use virtual currency, the ATM will provide these clients an alternative channel to convert their pesos to virtual currency and vice versa,” it said in a statement.
Cryptocurrency is a type of virtual currency that uses cryptography – a method of storing and transmitting data in unreadable form so that only the intended receivers can read and process it. Bitcoin is the first and most popular cryptocurrency to date introduced in 2009
Following the rise in the use of virtual currencies for payments and remittances in the Philippines, the BSP established a formal regulatory framework for virtual currency Exchanges through Circular 944 dated Feb. 6 2017.
The circular requires virtual currency exchanges to register with the BSP as remittance and transfer companies. These exchanges are also required to put in place adequate safeguards to address the risks associated with virtual currencies, including control measures to counter money laundering/terrorist financing, technology risk management systems, and consumer protection mechanisms.
Earnings of UnionBank slipped 13.1 percent to P7.32 billion last year from P8.42 billion in 2017 amid the double-digit increase operating expenses as well as change in reporting standards.
Edwin Bautista, president and chief executive officer at UnionBank, said P1.2 billion in retained earnings did not pass the fair value changes recognized in profit or loss due to the shift to the Philippine Finance Reporting Standards 9.
Bautista said the listed bank has been posting returns over the past three years, while making major investments in technology and people.
According to Bautista, 2019 would usher the third phase of the digital transformation journey by scaling up the touchpoints through enhanced features in the mobile app as well as the roll-out of more The Ark branches.