Asia’s First Rotary Club Revives Member-Engaging Fireside Chat

by Rtn. Eduardo “Jujuril. Enriquez, III
Rotary Club of Manila

We had our Fireside Chat last August 29, 2019. This Fireside Chat is a revival spearheaded by PP Archit Bartolome. We invited the Rotary Club of Makati West who sent a delegation of about 25 Rotarians. Together with the Rotary Club of Manila, we were about 50 Rotarians.
This format is different for a few reasons: it is more casual as we dispense with the usual Rotary meeting formalities, it was held in a different venue from where we have our regular meetings and our topic was very much attuned to the present-day happenings … if not the future. This version of Fireside Chat was held at The Ark by UnionBank, its first digital branch where our Rotarians experienced how banking will be tomorrow… transacting via iPads, the experience of a 360 virtual teller where you can do most banking transactions, the first-ever virtual currency machine where you can buy and sell virtual currency, opening a bank account using a banking app from your phone, to name some. Our speaker was no less than our very own Manila Rotarian, Dr. Justo ‘Tito’ Ortiz. UnionBank’s Chairman and visionary. Today, he is bringing the bank to the forefront of innovation, transforming into “a technology company, also a bank.” He has been an advocate for inclusive prosperity through innovation and chairs numerous industry associations that make this possible, namely, the Fintech Philippines Association, Blockchain Association of the Philippines and the Philippine Payments Management Inc. He is likewise a Board member of the Global Fintech Alliances Advisory Board composed of fintech and innovation luminaries from across the globe and which was launched in Copenhagen, Denmark earlier this year. Further, he is a Co-founder and chairman of Tech Up Pilipinas — a movement launched during the Singapore Fintech Festival in November 2018 that pushes for inclusive prosperity by helping small and medium enterprises (SMEs), individuals, and large corporates benefit from technological advancements. Part of the one-hour talk were the motivations behind the digital transformation of UnionBank, as well as the ways on how these efforts would stay relevant and sustainable in the long run. The Blockchain Institute, and the most recent success of i2i, were some of the products and programs introduced as part of the bank’s financial inclusion efforts. On top of that, the collaborative efforts of UnionBank with partner associations, regulators, customers, demand-side stimulators and other supply-side drivers, were also given highlight as an essential tool in the success of the transformation journey. “Banking will be invisible” were the words uttered by Tito. He explains that when you make transactions using Grab, Lazada, Amazon, Lalamove and the like, you don’t feel like it’s a banking transaction because that transaction is embedded. It just happens. Payment is made or a loan is automatically created. “Today, I saw tomorrow’: These were the remarkable words of President Jackie Rodriguez towards the closing of the event.
Rtn. Tito Ortiz’s commitment to elevating people’s lives through extensive financial inclusion empowered by technology was successfully conveyed to these Rotarians who were very keen and genuinely curious on the “why’s” and “how’s” of going digital, not only on a customer perspective but also as influential and significant individuals who drive the business sector.