January 19, 2018

Digital Transformation: How Technology is changing your banking experience

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  • Ever wondered into your bank wishing whatever you wanted to do could be made a lot easier? There’s a place in Makati that shows you a glimpse of the future, and it’s called The Ark.

    The Ark might just be a vision of the future of banking. It combines design, physical space, and a brand’s aspiration (in this case UnionBank) into a place that gives customers a remarkable experience.

    DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION HAS ARRIVED. The next wave of successful Philippine enterprises, led by Digital Transformation (DX) advocates Micro-D International, Inc. and UnionBank of the Philippines, is redefining the way brands interact and connect with consumers as we speak. In the photo: (L-R) Bonsey Design Strategic Director Bhavit Bhatt; UnionBank Customer Experience Manager Julian Aboitiz; MDI Chief Executive Officer Myla Villanueva; UnionBank Deputy Center Head for Consumer Finance and Chief User Experience Officer Ana Aboitiz-Delgado; Brand Architect and fellow DX champion Amor Maclang; and Bonsey Design Principal Creative and Executive Officer Jonathan Bonsey.

    The architects behind The Ark came from Micro-D International, Inc. (MDI), a company that’s leading the charge for Digital Transformation. At its helm is their CEO Myla Villanueva, an advocate for real Digital Transformation (DX).

    According to Villanueva, the key to achieving real DX lies in the DX Trinity: design, physical space, and a brand’s aspirations. She, along with MDI, believes that any design that doesn’t prioritize the integration of technology within a physical space and aligns itself with the brand’s promise is an incomplete design, no matter how advanced the space may be.

    “Look at other innovation pioneers like Apple or GoPro. Every groundbreaking technology today should take into consideration the human element and interaction and how it complements its surroundings,” said Villanueva.

    MDI has successfully pulled this off with The Ark, creating a space that combines the best in technology, architecture, and human interaction to give UnionBank’s customers (and the general public) what might be the best banking experience they can have.

    What to expect at The Ark

    A step inside The Ark gives you a sense of what DX is. The first thing you’ll get upon arriving at The Ark isn’t a cue number, it’s an iPad. From there, you can do whatever transactions you used to do with a bank teller: open an account, update your information, apply for a credit card, etc.

    A GLIMPSE OF THE FUTURE. Through The Ark, a groundbreaking concept brought to life by Micro-D International, Inc. (MDI) and UnionBank of the Philippines, the latter’s vision of becoming the country’s leading digital bank that offers a brand experience as if it’s a tech company with a banking engine has been successfully brought to life.

    It will look eerily similar to doing online banking, but there’s a twist. Instead of you having to do it on your own, there will be a UnionBank Ambassador ready to assist you every step of the way. There are a couple of them roaming the floor at The Ark and all you need to do is raise your hand.

    Oh, and yes, they used to be bank tellers.

    There’s also free coffee and the possibility of being in the presence of other like-minded individuals if there’s a talk or seminar happening, but let’s not focus on that.

    Every groundbreaking technology today should take into consideration the human element and interaction and how it complements its surroundings. That’s the vision that UnionBank of the Philippines—led by its President, Mr. Edwin Bautista (right), brought to life with the help of Micro-D International, Inc. (MDI) at The ARK, a refreshing retail space that espouses digital technology to augment an actual banking experience.

    Everything you see in The Ark, from the seats, monitors, and lights to the built-in PA system (quite possibly the first of its kind to make its way into a bank), lends itself to giving customers the best possible experience they can get.

    What you’ll see may not all be state-of-the-art, but if it doesn’t lend itself to the design, then why have it?

    The Ark is, shall we say, a testing ground to prove that true Digital Transformation works. Based on what we saw that night, we think it will.


    The Ark is UnionBank’s retail and banking hub in Makati. It’s located on the ground floor of Insular Life Building, Ayala Ave. cor. Paseo de Roxas St., Makati City.

    Also read: The Ark by UnionBank: PH’s first fully digital bank branch

    Written by Andronico Del Rosario, with quotes taken from MDI’s press release

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