P46 million mistakenly withdrawn from bank accounts: BPI exec

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 23 2017 12:20 AM

A total of P46 million was mistakenly withdrawn from Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) accounts during its massive system glitch, a BPI official said Thursday.

Cezar Consing, president and chief executive officer of BPI, said a total of P46 million was mistakenly withdrawn when the bank’s system glitched last June 6 and 7 that resulted in "mispostings" in BPI depositors’ accounts.

“The amount that was mistakenly withdrawn from BPI totaled P46 million. [Because of the] misposting there was an amount that in some cases, were mistakenly withdrawn. That amount is P46 million,” Consing said during the inquiry of the House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries on the BPI system glitch.

Consing said "most, if not all" of the P46 million will be paid back.

He added that the amount mostly affected businesses.

“Most of them are with merchants. Most of them are with small businesses. We are making arrangements with them one by one to settle almost all of them. [They] have expressed readiness to settle. It’s simply a matter of when to debit the accounts,” he said.

Consing said around 750,000 clients and P5.2 billion were affected in the glitch.

"The number I gave is [approximately] 750,000 clients multiplied by P7,000. These are approximate numbers, we’re talking of P5.2 billion either way. This has been rectified when we corrected the mispostings. It took us a total of 37 hours to correct the mispostings,” he said.

The House probe followed the Senate’s inquiry into the state of the banking system after alleged glitches and fraud hit two of the country's largest lenders this month.

The House probe looked into BPI's system and the reported ATM skimming on BDO accounts to protect depositors and the banking industry.

BPI said that it deeply regrets the inconvenience caused to the public, and ensured the House committee they are doing everything to prevent a similar incident from happening. 

BPI said the system glitch was caused by human error and not due to hacking, and that there was no breach in data security.

Samar Rep. Edgar Sarmiento, however, told the bank executives that there should have been a check system, after learning from a BPI official that a female programmer, who is one of two persons trusted to handle BPI's new system, committed the posting error.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the National Privacy Commission are conducting their own investigations and were asked by the House committee to submit their findings.