The Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) says preparing for a post-pandemic world for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) begins with observing people’s changing habits and behaviors and developing digital capabilities to support such behaviors.
“Before, as business owners, when we see lines outside, we feel good about it. We see that, ‘okay, this is revenue.’ But now, it’s more about addressing customer behavior. So these are the things that will really change. SMEs must have the tools to mitigate this,” said Louie Cruz, Sales Group Head for BPI Business Banking, in a recent webinar for its SME clients.
“Given the situation now, with physical distancing, digital or e-commerce is actually benefitting from the situation. The new normal doesn’t tell you to change your business entirely. It’s more about having a plan or including as part of your growth the digital aspect of doing business,” he added.
BPI’s Business Banking group noted an 18% increase in the digital transactions of its clients. Bank-wide, total number of transactions increased from 72% pre-ECQ to 90% during ECQ.
“The capacity of BPI’s digitalization is really being tested and we were able to cope with the increasing demands on our systems. We want our SME clients to have that same digital advantage in their own businesses,” he continued.
The bank believes that adopting a digital mindset will help companies in their operations—from settling their bills, supplier payments, salary payments, and other financial transactions. For retailers and SMEs, mobile and online banking will also help them stay connected with their customers.
One such digital tool for SMEs is BPI’s BizLink, an online facility for business clients.
BPI Business Banking Head Eric Luchangco said tools like BizLink will enable businesses to do routine transactions online, such as downloading bank statements, transferring and collecting via automatic bills arrangement, and others.
“As businesses adjust to the changing consumer behavior, it is also important to prepare their back-end processes. And when they build their digital capabilities now, they will be ready for the resurgence in their businesses when the pandemic ends,” he said.
Right now, BPI focuses on helping its current clients through loan reprieves, the availment of new products and services, or trusted business advice.
“We are reaching out to clients through our relationship managers and even through digital tools such as webinars. We believe that the more we help our clients overcome current challenges, the better we, as banks, will be in the long run. After all, banks do well when the clients do well,” he said.
May 22, 2020
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