BAIPhil hosts e-Money seminar

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(L-R) Aristeo Zafra, Jr, COO of BancNet and Director in Charge of Automation Committee; Zoilo Jesus dela Cruz, President of Infoserve; Reynante Banico, Business Support Head of Smart Communications and Associate Life Member of BAIPhil; Lydia King, FVP of Banco de Oro and IPP of BAIPhil; Rosalinda Nieva, CITSG Deputy Director of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas; Ismael Estela, Jr., SVP of Banco de Oro; Javier Ricardo Sison, Marketing Head of Globe Exchange; and Criselda Santillan, Associate Life Member of BAIPhil.

The Automation and Technology Committee of BAIPhil hosted the seminar on “e-Money: The Revolution Begins with Secured Technology “Where’s the Money in e-Money?” on September 18, 2009 (10am to 5pm) at the AIM Conference Center with 183 participants from different banks in attendance. The seminar tackled various aspects of electronic money implementation in the country and the role of secured technology in the issuance and usage of this innovative form of currency. The topics covered during the seminar were: e-Money Defined: The Regulator’s Perspective; e-Money lssuing: Bank Experience; e-Money lssuing: Non Bank Experience, e -Money: Servicing the “Last Mile” thru Collaboration of Telcos and Rural Banks, and e -Money: Reaching the “Bottom of the Pyramid” Market (the “Unbanked”).

Deputy Director Rosalinda Nieva who heads the Core lT Services Group of Bangko Sentral lead an impressive line-up of speakers. Taking the regulator’s perspective, she defined e-money as “monetary value stored on an electronic device, issued on receipt of funds and accepted as a means of payment for retail transactions.” She further explained the provisions of BSP Circular No.649 which governs the issuance and operation of e-money by banks and authorized non-bank entities.

The other speakers shared their experiences in issuing e-money. lsmael G. Estela, Jr., SVP of Banco de Oro, narrated BDO’s pioneering efforts in issuing the first e-money in the country called” Smart Money” which is enabled by Smart Communications. Combining the experiences of these two giants in the banking and telecommunications industries, the participants learned the story behind the remarkable success of their e-money. Estela presented his views on what constitutes the key drivers that boost or hinder the growth of e-money in the country. Of particular interest to the audience wash is discussion of e-money’s business case for banks or “where is the money in e-money”.

The experiences of a non-bank e-money issuer, on the other hand, were presented by Zoilo Jesus M. de la Cruz lll, President of Infoserve, who 10 years a go established an ATM/POS network called Nationlink with the support of BancNet. He presented Nationlink’s in vision to deliver electronic financial services to small rural banks in remote areas, the company’s initial difficulties and subsequent success in the implementation of e-money at the countryside.

The top telcos Globe and Smart also had their success stories to share. Ricardo Sison, Marketing Head of Globe Exchange, discussed Globe’s collaboration with rural banks to service what he calls “the last mile” or the most remote areas in the country. Thru its G-Cash and mobile technology, cell phone users are empowered to deposit or withdraw money, among other services, without leaving their homes. Even those living in remote provincial areas can receive money from relatives any where through their mobile phone.

Reynante Banico, Operations Head of Smart, on the other hand, explained how Smart has reached the so-called “bottom of the pyramid” sectors of society. In cooperation with microfinance institutions and NGOs, Smart mobile technology particularly the Smart Money has enabled financial transactions for the disadvantaged and underserved communities. He cited Smart’s success in this area which has become part of Smart’s corporate social responsibility. What works, what hinders implementation, the opportunities and challenges of e-money were the highlights of the presentation.

The seminar likewise covered technology updates related to e-money. The following technology provider presented their respective products and services: Keystone Solutions, Global Reach eBusiness Methods, Inc and CTK Solutions, Inc.

The seminar was organized by the Automation and Technology Committee composed of the following: Aris Zafra, BancNet COO and BAlPhil Director; Nhilda Causing COO of Standard Chartered Bank and Committee Chairman; Cris Santillan Lifetime Associate Member; Beth Goco, Life time Associate Member; Philip Casanova, Chief Information Security Officer of China Bank; Rey Banico. Operations Head of Smart Communications; Angelito Basa Information Security Officer of BancNet and Keith Chan, Vice President of Philippine Business Bank.