MANILA, Philippines - Hundreds of Banco Filipino depositors went to Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC) headquarters in Makati today to start the process of claiming money, which has been frozen for a week after the bank’s branches closed and the central bank put it under PDIC receivership.
Only depositors with more than P5,000 in their bank accounts needed to go to the PDIC for claim forms. Smaller depositors are supposed to get their money via postal money order.
Among those who went to the state insurer's office in Makati was an 80-year old woman who said she had P700,000 in Banco Filipino. That would put her in a very small minority: the central bank said only 3% of Banco Filipino depositors had more than P500,000 in the bank.
The woman said she uses the interest on her deposit to pay her mortgage, which is now imperilled because PDIC only insures deposits up to P500,000. It could also take months before she’s paid her claim.
Many of those who went to PDIC were angry and frustrated not just because of what happened to Banco Filipino but also because they had to wait in the heat today.
They complained that the claim forms were distributed on a covered court and the sound system was distorted. Several people were shouting.
In Cagayan de Oro City, some depositors were disappointed because they thought they could get their money today.
PDIC officials said it could take as long as two years.
"I don’t care about the interest, I just want the initial deposit,’’ said Elizabeth Wright, who said she worked for two decades in the U.K. to save P 5 million. "P500,000 is nothing compared to my deposit!’’
In Tacloban, Roda Daisog said she hoped her money would be released soon.
"The savings in that bank is intended for my two children's graduation, I hope I can withdraw them this month," she said.
The central bank has said that 53% of the thrift bank's over 177,000 clients nationwide have P5,000 or less in their accounts.
The bank was insolvent and could no longer service withdrawals and fund checks, central bank officers said. - from reports of Henry Omaga Diaz, ABS-CBN News; and Jenette Rueda, Primy Cane, John Germono and Floyd Petallano of ABS-CBN Regional Network Group