Banking transactions eased as new law takes effect
Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - April 3, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Local banks vowed to comply with the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of a new law aimed at easing the burden of Filipinos amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement, the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) said it has been in close coordination with regulators to ensure the quick turnaround of the guidelines of Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act.

“As the backbone of the Philippine financial system and economy, we are one with the national government to aid in the recovery and rehabilitation during this time of public health crisis,” BAP said.

The law directs all lenders to grant a 30-day grace period or extension for the payment of all loans, including credit card payments and pawnshop loans, falling due within the enhanced community quarantine period, without slapping interest or any additional charges and fees on the borrowers.

“We trust that the provisions under the IRR are meant to protect the collective interests of our stakeholders. The banking industry and individual banks respect the IRR and will follow the law and its implementing rules in order to achieve its objectives,” the group said.

BAP also welcomed all the regulatory relief measures extended by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in order for banks to support the needs and requirements of the national government, businesses and the banking public.

“In these extraordinary times, more than ever, the Philippine banking system continues to demonstrate a strong collaboration among stakeholders through issuance of guidelines in a clear and timely manner,” it said.

Meanwhile, the BSP has relaxed its know-your-customer (KYC) requirements to facilitate access to financial services while the month-long enhanced community quarantine in Luzon is in effect.

BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier issued Memorandum 2020-015 or the relief measure on customer identification to manage the COVID-19 situation.

She said the central bank’s Monetary Board issued Resolution 461 last March 26 approving the implementation of the relief in case of calamity, primarily to facilitate the distribution of funds to assist Filipinos affected by COVID-19 and the enhanced community quarantine and to ensure continuity of their access to financial and government services.

“This shall be effective during the period of enhanced community quarantine and until June 30, 2020. The period of availability may be extended depending on the developments of the COVID-19 situation,” Fonacier added.

The BSP said any requirement for the presentation of valid ID would be relaxed including for electronic and online customer onboarding and transactions as long as the amount of transactions in the account would not exceed P50,000 per day and as long as qualified customers are those who reside or conduct business in the area that has been declared to be under enhanced community quarantine.

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