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Banks vow vigilance, back BPI

Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - June 11, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines -  Philippine banks vowed to remain vigilant in using technology to better serve the banking public after a computer “glitch” almost paralyzed the operations of Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) last week.

“We collectively remain vigilant? ? and commit to continuously harness technologies to better serve and protect the interest of the banking public,” the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) said in a statement.

The organization of 21 local banks and 19 foreign bank branches issued the statement after BPI managed to resolve an internal data processing error and fully restore normal operations.

“In general, while system glitches are not uncommon, banks are fully equipped to cope with such and continue business transactions. We do not believe that this incident will affect the bank’s ability to service its customers,” the group said.

The country’s third largest bank was finally able to reactivate its electronic channels including all its ATMs as well as online and mobile banking services as of 9 p.m. last Thursday after its system was affected by an internal data processing error late Tuesday evening.

Due to the internal system error, the bank said some transactions between April 27 and May 2 were double-posted in June 6, resulting in incorrect balances in the accounts of depositors.

Initially, BPI managed to reactivate its ATM network 10 p.m. of Wednesday and all its electronic channels including online and mobile banking 7 a.m. Thursday, only to deactivate it hours later after discovering that accounts still reflected incorrect balances.

To serve the needs of clients, all BPI and BPI Family Savings Bank branches extended their operating hours to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday.

“Suffice it to say, we believe that BPI remains a sound financial institution and that the public can remain confident in the banking industry?‘s? efforts to ensure deliver?y? of ?secure services,” BAP said.

The oldest bank in the Philippines currently has a deposit base of P1.4 trillion as of end-March. It has eight million deposit accounts.

The BSP has already dispatched a team of investigators to look into the “glitch“ that affected the operations of BPI. 

Latest data from the BSP showed there are 602 banks operating in the Philippines consisting of 42 universal and commercial banks, 60 thrift banks and 500 rural banks.

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