Renato Magtubo, Partido ng Manggagawa chair, said workers are appealing to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to use its regulatory power to freeze once more any ATM fee hikes.
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Workers slam ATM fee hike
Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - August 14, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Organized labor yesterday pressed for the suspension of the impending increase in fees for bank transactions done through automated teller machines (ATM), where many employers deposit the salaries of employees.

Renato Magtubo, Partido ng Manggagawa chair, said workers are appealing to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to use its regulatory power to freeze once more any ATM fee hikes.

Magtubo said workers also support a congressional inquiry to protect the interest of consumers, including workers.

“Charging P15 per withdrawal is already burdensome. Doubling the fee would be onerous on workers receiving their wages through payroll ATM accounts,” Magtubo explained.

Magtubo noted that P15 fee is almost three percent of the daily minimum wage rate in Metro Manila.

Thus, he said, doubling the ATM fee would mean taking away six to eight percent of the minimum wage of workers per withdrawal. 

“This is highway robbery,” Magtubo said while noting that banks are already profiting 26 percent higher compared to last year.

Workers, Magtubo said, are forced to withdraw from the ATM nearest them since salaries are now commonly received through ATMs.

He said many workers withdraw from ATMs of the bank nearest to their place of work or residence and avoid wasting time and money going to their own bank’s ATMs that will require several rides.

Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel reminded banks yesterday that the cash they put inside the ATMs are actually cash they only borrowed from their depositors. 

“This is why banks are paying interest on deposits,” Pimentel said following the lifting of a Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas policy that used to freeze any increase in ATM transactions for the past six years. 

Pimentel supported calls led by Makati City Rep. Luis Campos for a House inquiry into the planned ATM fee increases. 

“Offhand, we see no justification for banks to impose ATM charges in excess of the P10 to P15 that they are currently collecting per single interbank withdrawal transaction, considering that depositors are merely taking money that they lent to the bank,” he said.

“Besides, banks are already extracting way too many superfluous fees from depositors, including the P300 to P500 monthly charge slapped on accounts falling below the P10,000 to P25,000 minimum monthly average daily balance, not to mention the dormancy levies on inactive accounts,” he argued.

Pimentel urged the House committee on banks and financial intermediaries to find out where these ATM charges go.  — With Delon Porcalla

AUTOMATED TELLER MACHINES RENATO MAGTUBO
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