UnionBank has announced that several community banks in the Philippines have signed on as partners to develop the blockchain platform underlying Visa’s B2B Connect solution.
Reports from the Philippine News Agency said UnionBank Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Technology and Operations Officer Henry Rhoel Aguda did not name the four rural banks participating in the collaboration, but did say the venture aims to “elevate their capabilities.”
“We’re co-creating the blockchain platform to be used by the rural banks,” the executive said.
Reports noted UnionBank’s work with smaller banks is part of its collaboration with Visa as it develops B2B Connect, a platform to facilitate cross-border transactions for financial institutions (FIs). Visa is in the midst of testing the solution for commercial rollout later this year. That solution uses blockchain to facilitate faster payments across borders; according to Aguda, the four rural banks have signed on to deploy the tool, noting that UnionBank hopes more FIs will join the platform.
“We want to grow from four right now to as many as we can support,” he added.
The company has been developing B2B Connect to utilize blockchain for corporate transactions and, in addition to UnionBank, is collaborating with the U.S.’ Commerce Bank, South Korea’s Shinhan Bank, Russia’s Sberbank and Singapore’s United Overseas Bank.
Last month, Visa offered new details into the testing of B2B Connect with its FI partners. UnionBank was the first to successfully pilot the solution.
“Visa B2B Connect takes on an innovative approach and eliminates friction for cross-border transactions by using distributed ledger technology to enhance the speed, security and reliability of these transactions,” said Visa Asia-Pacific Head of B2B Partnerships Vikram Kshettry in a statement at the time.
Earlier this month, Visa announced it reached a deal to acquire Fraedom, an expense management company, as part of its broader push into B2B payments.