BPI confident of preventing laundering scheme
Listed Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) said the 184-year old bank has the necessary systems in place to prevent it from being used as a conduit to launder dirty money in the country.
BPI president and chief executive officer Cezar Consing said the controls being implemented by the Ayala-led bank are fairly strict.
“BPI is not involved in the $81m money laundering case. I think and hope that it is unlikely that it could happen to BPI,” Consing said.
The country’s financial system was dragged into the money laundering scandal after the funds stolen by hackers from the account of Bangladesh Bank at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York entered the Philippines via the Jupiter branch of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC).
According to him, BPI executes almost 20,000 remittance transactions every week and almost 99.9 percent involves significant size for well known corporate clients.
“There is a very small number of remittances of significant size that are addressed to individuals that are checked and checked at several levels. So I believe our controls in this matter are fairly strict,” he said.
Consing explained that BPI has a strong and experienced management team handling branches all over the country.
“Ultimately as CEO of the bank, I am in charge of operations. But we have a very deep and very experienced branch operations management bench that has controls at several layers,” he added.
The bank president pointed out the scandal has affected Filipinos working and living abroad who are trying to send money to their loved ones in the Philippines.
“It is very possible that remittance charges will actually go up and that is one of the sad effects of this money laundering incident. What we are seeing happening now is foreign banks are beginning to be more choosy with which local banks to deal with,” Consing said.
BPI is spending at least P600 million a year to make sure that its systems are not compromised.