Balancing data collection, customer privacy enables better user experiences

Union Bank of the Philippines’ (UnionBank) Chief Technology & Operations Officer and Chief Transformation Officer Henry Aguda recently talked about the importance of balancing datacollection and individual privacy and how this ensures the best experiences for customers.

Speaking at an online forum, “Realizing the Promise of AI in Financial Services for Exceptional Customer Experience,” organized by global technology company Altair, Aguda shared valuable insights on how UnionBank is able to achieve this balance, benefiting customers and its employees.

“Everything has to have a balance, between the rights of individuals—our customers; and the need for the Bank to maximize its top line — which is, the more you know about your customers, the more you are able to influence what they procure as services from you,” Aguda said.

“But the nice thing about our case is, we don’t have to tackle the balancing issue at the tail end of the product execution. We don’t have to ask the question, ‘how do we now balance a new digital app between data privacy and protection?’”

Aguda explained that UnionBank employs what it calls “privacy by design,” in keeping with a regulatory requirement by the National Privacy Commission (NPC). This obligates an entity to always consider data privacy from the onset of product development.

“So, what happens? Our product people, while they develop a new product, are already collaborating with our data protection officer, ensuring that nothing goes out there in the marketplace without safeguards. It has to be permission-specific. The customer should always have the [final] say before the Bank canuse whatever is necessary with the data,” Aguda said.

“Because we already have those guiding principles from the very beginning, we have a much easier time with the balancing act at the end,” he added.

He cited the typical arrangement in other companies, where a data protection and commercial data officers have to normally balance out each other’s domains. But not for UnionBank, as thedata protection officer, regulatory groups, and cybersecurity experts all work together toward customer centricity instead.

“Our customer centricity guides everybody. Thus, as our data protection and other regulatory officers execute compliance, they know that they cannot do so by sacrificing customer experience.”

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