Philippine senate begins probe on local banks after ‘system glitches’

A bank officer talks to customers waiting to get inside the Bank of the Philippine Islands branch on Panay Avenue in Quezon City on Wednesday. The bank said a system glitch affected their computer system resulting in unauthorized transactions in various accounts. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

The Senate opened Wednesday an inquiry into the state of the banking system after alleged glitches and fraud hit two of the country’s largest lenders this month.

BDO Unibank on Friday called on depositors to report cases of ATM “skimming,” just one week after an “internal error” paralyzed electronic services of rival Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI).

The Senate probe seeks to identify the gaps in legislation that can be filed to prevent such glitches from happening again, said Senator Francis Escudero, chairman of the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies.

“I hope they will be able to explain in layman’s terms exactly what happened and not be too technical so that the depositing public may be reassured,” Escudero told the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) ahead of the 9:30 a.m. investigation.

“And so that speculation about what happened would end, hopefully without affecting the banking industry as a whole, bearing in mind that BPI is the third largest and BDO is the largest bank in the country.”

The findings of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ separate probe will also be presented during the hearing.

“Hopefully, we will be able to get assurances from BSP, the regulatory body in charge of supervising banks, how this can be avoided in the future, without revealing too much information with respect to their programs, idea safeguards, so much so that others may be encouraged to do the same in the future,” Escudero said.

Senator Franklin Drilon meanwhile urged lawmakers and the media to exercise prudence during the legislative inquiry.

“We must not speculate because we must reassure our people stability of our banking industry,” Drilon said in a separate interview on ANC’s Headstart.

Re-published from ABS-CBN News

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