The ARK by UnionBank, the first fully digital bank in PH, treats customers like guests

The ARK by UnionBank is the first completely digital bank in the country: there are no tellers, no queues, hardly any forms to fill out, just bank ambassadors armed with iPads ready to provide a personalized banking experience. There are also VR experiences so you can see into the car or home you want to apply a loan for. The ambiance is more of a familiar coffee shop or a relaxing hotel lobby. The ARK uses digital technology and customer interaction insights to improve actual banking experience. It is the first bank to do so. The ARK by UnionBank, at Insular Building, Ayala corner Pase de Roxas, was officially launched last November 27.

When you walk into The ARK, you are treated like a guest. A bank ambassador hands you a tablet. On it you choose your transaction. The ambassador may user you to the coffee area, where you can enjoy your cup while your transaction is facilitated. Because The ARK is equipped with high-speed internet, you can still be productive while you wait on comfortable seats provided for guests.


  • addresses the time-consuming wait and boredom inside banks (falling in line, getting a number and waiting, and more waiting until your query can be addressed). Banking need not feel like a chore.
  • aims to satisfy the changing needs of bank customers: The ARK an interactional experience rather than a transactional space.
  • stays clear of the usual static look and feel on a bank interior, so the space can be an encouraging venue for networking (there’s coffee and sofas) and for bank ambassadors to upsell their products at the interest and leisure of customers.
  • is a “lab” where clients can co-create an ideal banking experience (where they can express and bank people can observe what they actually want).
  • will feel familiar to digital natives, but for non-digital natives, The ARK can be the bridge that leads from traditional to digital banking.

“UnionBank trailblazed digital banking in the Philippines and we continue with our efforts to use technology and enhancing digital banking capabilities in order to provide the best customer experience for our clients,” said UnionBank Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Justo A. Ortiz.

UnionBank was awarded as the Best Digital Bank at the Asiamoney Banking Awards 2017, at The Ritz-Carlton in Beijing, China, last September 26. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier attended the launch of The ARK and praised UnionBank for its innovations at par with international banking standards.

Standing: Justo A. Ortiz, UnionBank Chairman and CEO, talks about the future of customer-focused banking at the just-unveiled The ARK by UnionBank.

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Irwin Allen Rivera loves his wife's cooking so much he's now twice the man he used to be. His English essay won a Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature in 2012. His philosophical-horror story appeared in Philippine Speculative Fiction 8 (2013). He was managing editor and lead writer of Sites and Symbols 2 (2005), a coffee-table book about buildings in UP Diliman - his alma mater (BA Philosophy; MA Creative Writing continuing). He worked at the UP Diliman Information Office before shifting to web content writing. His sudden fiction, "Notwithstanding Pigs," initially a Friendster testimonial, appeared in Philippines Graphic (2006) and in Very Short Stories for Harried Readers (2007). He used to write for