Financially empowering Filipinos: Lawrence Y. Ferrer
The digital revolution has put paid to paper-based bills. In the Philippines, the easy and convenient payment options offered by CIS Bayad Center is making life easier for customers and businesses alike.
With digital going the way of cash transactions, the majority of the market is constantly on the lookout for more convenient ways to address their bill payment needs. It’s a situation Bayad, formerly known as Bayad Center – the pioneer and industry leader in the outsourced bills payment collection service in the Philippines – understands all too well.
As a subsidiary of Manila Electric Company (Meralco), the largest power distribution conglomerate in the country, Bayad has transitioned from providing an over-the-counter payment collection service to enabling a whole suite of financial products and solutions made available to both consumers and businesses.
"All of our efforts in Bayad are directed towards the belief that Filipinos deserve to be rewarded for their hard work. It is our purpose to elevate their financial experience – providing solutions to both individuals and businesses that effectively help make payments more convenient and seamless, yet safe and secure at the same time," shares Bayad President and CEO, Lawrence Y Ferrer.
From having Meralco as its sole biller back in 1997, Bayad now takes pride in having the largest biller network, leveraging on its "Pay Anywhere" stance through its business franchising model and enabling major establishments and leading digital platforms in the country.
On Bayad’s directions in the coming years, Lawrence explains: "We are even more determined to scale up our biller and channel network as we continue to stay attuned to the different needs of our customers from all walks of life – whether they are homemakers, students living away from their families, busy professionals, businessmen and Filipinos overseas."
Lawrence steered the organisation into being a digital-first institution, supporting the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ 2023 target to achieve 50 per cent financial transactions to be conducted digitally.
In line with this, Bayad launched its own mobile and web application to cater to the needs of the younger, tech- savvy market including professionals on-the-go, as well as Filipinos overseas.
As the digital era of payments rolls on, Bayad proactively pushes forward its real-time payment posting capability, allowing instantaneous and seamless transactions. This service feature has been a boon for both consumers and business partners, as it enables smooth data integration and provides reliable statements of accounts and report generation.
On Financial Inclusion
Honed by more than 20 years of solid experience in business development and brand management in the fields of telecommunications, fintech and banking, Lawrence – or LYF, as he is fondly called in the office – is a true game-changer and a subject matter expert on innovation and digitalisation.
He has been credited for championing the Smart Electronic Load – "Eload" Service, which offered prepaid load credits and micro top-ups. The service gained popularity during the introduction of cellular phones in the country, as it allowed convenience, affordability and accessibility at the grassroots level. Today wherever you go in the Philippines, you can find a store offering an eloading service.
With financial inclusion being the hallmark of Lawrence’s time in the top job, he ensures that Bayad’s marketplace strategy is tailored fit the needs of its growing consumers and different business sectors in the country.
Lawrence spearheaded the company’s rebranding initiative as it introduced a Bigger, Better, and Younger Bayad.
Bigger represents the expansion of new payment channels, both in the physical and digital spaces; Better stands for Bayad’s capability to offer a wide range of financial products and services backed up by a more robust cybersecurity posture; and Younger reflects a modern look and feel while bringing with it the trust and integrity that the business has been known for over 24 years.
True to its mission, Bayad advocates financial literacy as a critical component of financial inclusion. Through its proactive collaboration with the government’s Department of Education, Bayad continues to embed financial management in the school curriculum of high school students in adopted public schools in the provinces.
"We recognise the role of the youth as catalysts for financial inclusion. With this, we continue to amplify our advocacy on financial literacy, as we mold our learners into financial champions, thereby helping our country recover from the economic disruption brought about by the global pandemic," Lawrence says.
On Fostering Strategic Partnerships
Paying bills is an inevitable part of life, and it always gives a great sense of relief once we are able to settle them on time. That is why Bayad continues to develop accessible bills payment solutions where customers won’t have to worry about having their household services cut off.
Through open collaboration with leading corporations, financial institutions and digital enterprise, Bayad has expanded its transaction outlets nationwide and integrated bills payment portal customisation on its partners’ mobile and web applications. This development also paved the way to an efficient retail trade system, which now supports micro, small and medium enterprises as they offer Bayad’s financial services to their respective communities.
As Bayad reaches out to the grassroots level, the company equally promotes digital transformation, and at the same time, preserves the value of its bricks-and-mortar business.
Ultimately, sustainability and innovation are the bedrock of the company’s initiatives. Set forth to ensure customer-centric and business-centric solutions, Lawrence says: "We value not just the way people do payments, but we also help institutions to thrive and expand. Together, we will shape the future of a financially empowered Philippines."