‘Swift is Expensive’: Major Philippine Bank Uses IBM for Japan Blockchain Payment

One of Philippines’ top 10 banks by assets, The Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) has confirmed a future transfer payment service from Japan using blockchain technology.

Talking in an interview on Thursday, RCBC first senior vice president Manny T. Narcisco confirmed that the banking giant is creating the blockchain platform to provide faster transfers for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Japan.

“For the OFWs in Japan, [this service] will make remittance faster and cheaper as we will collect fewer fees,” the senior bank official was quoted stating by BusinessWorld.

It is worth noting that the bank has partnered with technology giant IBM and another anonymous partner to create the blockchain platform.

“IBM has decided to pilot it with 15 banks around the world, we’re the only one in the Philippines that they included in this pilot test,” Narcisco added. Details regarding the type of blockchain used are presently unavailable and IBM has not given any response.

RCBC is joining with two Japanese banks one of them confirmed as Tokyo-based Resona Bank, for the blockchain transfer service.

In the Philippines, cash transfers reach a record $31.3 billion in 2017 while personal transfers from overseas nationals hit a new high of $3 billion.

“The 2017 level of OFW’s personal remittances accounted for 10.0 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and 8.3 percent of gross national income (GNI),” according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’s (the central bank) own information.

Back in April 2018, cash transfers from OFw’s amounted to about $137 million, making it the Philippine’s largest source of transfer. It thus comes as no surprise that the bank is testing the Japan-Philippines transfer corridor.

Why is the RCBC trying to move away from the international interbanking system driven by SWIFT to a decentralized system without a control middleman or other parties? The official noted it’s cheaper, faster and real-time.

He added:

“You will not need SWIFT anymore because it’s expensive. Remittance will happen in real time, bypassing all other parties.”


Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.