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Philippines' UnionBank offers banking, fintech programme for SMU students

UNIONBANK of the Philippines on Monday said it has inked an agreement with the Singapore Management University (SMU) to offer a 12-week overseas talent development programme on banking and fintech.

Up to 10 of the university’s students will be exposed to UnionBank projects to co-develop emerging technologies overseas, under the bank’s partnership with SMU’s Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE).

The students will be participants of IIE’s Global Innovation Immersion (GII) overseas internship programme. GII participants intern in startups, venture funds, corporates and non-government organisations in selected markets including Jakarta, Manila, Bangkok, Beijing and San Francisco.

Michelle Rubio, UnionBank’s executive vice-president and chief human resource officer, said the latest initiative is in line with the bank's mentorship programme for students to work on its “most innovative and exciting” projects.

Aside from SMU, the Philippine bank is also planning to strengthen links with more schools and universities in the South-east Asian region, Ms Rubio added.

Hau Koh Foo, director of SMU IIE, said: “With UnionBank’s expertise in the banking and finance space coupled with their experience in fintech, we look forward to the innovative collaborations our SMU students will generate through this programme.”

The programme is supported by the Singapore government under the Global Innovation Alliance, a joint initiative between Enterprise Singapore and the Economic Development Board. The alliance is a network of Singapore and overseas partners in innovation hubs and key demand markets, with a focus on technology and innovation.

To build a tech talent pool in the Philippines, UnionBank also runs a blockchain institute, a data science institute and a Blockchain Xcellerator eight-week intensive course for developers.