Globe wants to take its bank international

Globe wants to take its bank international

13 JUL 2015

LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS SHANGHAI 2015: John Rubio, CEO and president of Globe BanKO, told Mobile World Live that the mobile phone-based bank is looking to offer its loan service in other countries, in addition to its domestic market in the Philippines.

Rubio said discussions are underway with a number of partners to look at how to launch in those other Asian markets where it sees an untapped opportunity.

As with any financial institution, the key is how the bank crunches the data behind its loan book, according to Rubio.

“The most important thing for us now is to solidify our credit algorithms / scorecards, the ‘secret sauce’ so to speak.  We believe that provides a unique competitive advantage as these algorithms and scorecards are difficult to replicate because it takes significant time, effort, and resources put into building them,” he said.

Presumably, Rubio and his colleagues are studying how to remix that secret sauce for other markets in Asia.

Globe, a leading operator in the Philippines, has been a pioneer in mobile money. Globe BanKO is a joint venture established in 2009 between the operator, the Bank of the Philippines Islands (BPI) and local conglomerate Ayala.

Since the service was relaunched at the beginning of 2014, customer acquisition rates in the Philippines have grown from about 7,000 users per month (2013 average) to around 50,000 users per month today.

“We drove the expansion by specifically targeting unbanked and underserved areas of the country, while at the same time actively cultivating partnerships with institutions that have an incentive to bank or card their constituent base,” explained Rubio.

What’s needed is partners in all the areas where the bank has customers, he said. Targeting is crucial: while there is no need for a distribution network across the country, good-quality outlets are needed everywhere the bank does business, so users can easily put cash into their accounts, or withdraw it.

“Quality for me is much more important than quantity — nothing beats a partner outlet that knows the product intimately, is good at dealing with customers, and always ensures adequate wallet funding,” according to John Rubio. A local partner must ensure it always has sufficient funds to handle withdrawals, even if unexpectedly high.


Richard Handford

Richard is the editor of Mobile World Live’s money channel and a contributor to the daily news service. He is an experienced technology and business journalist who previously worked as a freelancer for many publications over the last decade including...

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