Banks urged to pay interest on all savings accounts

SPY BIZ - S.A. Maguire () - October 26, 2006 - 12:00am
Depositors will certainly welcome moves urging the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to require all banks to pay interest on all savings accounts whether the cash balance is P100 or P1,000. Banks usually require depositors to keep a minimum average daily balance in personal accounts, and those who fall below average are charged with penalties and other service fees. According to Catanduanes Rep. Joseph Santiago, all deposits should be treated as loans granted to banks and thus, interest on all savings accounts should be paid, in accordance with a Supreme Court ruling that invoked Article 1890 of the Civil Code, which ruled that "bank deposits, whether fixed, savings or current, are treated as loans because they earn interest." Banks now generally require a minimum of P5,000 to P15,000 for savings accounts to be entitled to earn interest. Accounts with balances falling below this minimum are automatically slapped P100 to P200 in monthly service charges. Santiago has been batting for the abolition of excessive and burdensome bank charges. He is also author of House Bill 4630, which seeks to prohibit banks from arbitrarily exacting unwanted service fees or penalty charges. "This is a highly anomalous situation wherein the creditor (the depositor) is the one being penalized by the debtor (the bank). Normally, it is the borrower that gets penalized by the creditor, not the other way around," the lawmaker stressed.
Fiction-packed report
Spybiz informants disclosed that it was only after the Oct. 10 column item entitled "Frequent ship breakdowns" that maritime officials seem to have realized that something was amiss with this shipping company whose vessels keep breaking down. Insiders said it was virtually impossible for the district head, where the vessels are home ported, not to have noticed what has been going on in his own turf — unless his people have been giving him falsely reassuring reports. The district head reportedly ordered the shipping company to explain in writing the cause of the breakdowns, even going to the extent of ordering an audit on the shipping company’s compliance to the International Ship Management (ISM) Code. But as to when he will get the reports is quite another story, the sources said. For now, maritime industry observers are allegedly waiting for another "fiction-packed" ISM compliance report by the shipping company.
NBI’s ‘Old boys club’
Spybiz sources reported that an "old boys club" is trying to undermine newly appointed NBI Assistant Director Pedro Bulaong, who has officially assumed his post last week. When the low profile former Western Police District chief was introduced to the division heads, the ceremony was going well with the usual words of welcome and congratulatory expressions given to the new official. But according to sources, the warm welcome was marred by a sour note when, after NBI director Nestor Mantaring asked if there were questions from the body, a voice from the back suddenly piped in: "Mr. Bulaong, why did you choose to come here at the NBI?" The whole room fell silent, but the low-key former police general, without missing a beat, politely answered that he was there at the discretion of the President. Some old timers apparently feel slighted and have reportedly been circulating some anonymous papers claiming the appointment of Bulaong could undermine the career path of homegrown agents and investigators. On the other hand, a number of agents tired of the old boys club reportedly welcome the appointment of Bulaong — who early this year was already considered a dark horse for the post of NBI chief — because he is expected to bring new ideas to the agency and could make the modernization plan take off. Bulaong was a valedictorian and the first police general to graduate from the Philippine National Police Academy.
Spy tidbiz: Killer stingrays
A month after a stingray ended the career of "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, here come reports of an 81-year-old man from Florida who gets stabbed on the chest by another stingray. Marine experts say stingrays deploy a sharp spin in their tails as a reflexive action when they get frightened, but the venom is rarely fatal and just usually causes a painful sting. Stingrays are known to be docile creatures and it’s still unclear what set the stingray off, causing him to flop on the boat and stab the man.
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