Banks warned vs sending spam text messages

MANILA, Philippines—Local banks have been reminded to not get caught up in competitive fervor by sending prohibited spam text messages to the public.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in a memorandum this week reminded banks that sending unsolicited messages to clients had been deemed a crime since 2012.


The reminder for banks was prompted by “complaints from the public on unsolicited text messages,” said the memorandum signed by BSP Deputy Governor Nestor A. Espenilla Jr.

Sending unsolicited messages was criminalized by Congress in the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.


The law defined spam messages as “commercial” electronic transmissions that advertise or sell products to recipients.

Despite becoming a crime only in 2012, rules against sending spam messages have been in place for more than a decade, the BSP pointed out.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) early in 2005 prohibited telephone companies and content providers from launching advertising campaigns that involved unwanted texts to mobile phone users.

Under NTC rules, messages that advertise products should only be sent to mobile phone subscribers who want them.

Regulators said banks would not be able to avoid being held liable for messages that advertise their services.

“The bank shall remain responsible for all violations of the… regulations and law committed by their outsourced agency or personnel,” the BSP memorandum read.

The rise in complaints over intrusive bank advertisements sent to mobile phones comes amid heightened competition in the local financial industry.


Local banks have increasingly shifted their focus to strengthening retail operations, an area where profits are higher, albeit riskier.

This follows a recent decline in gains from treasury operations or investments in securities due to a world-wide drop in interest rates.

In the Philippines, interest rates have also fallen as a result of a drop in the government’s borrowing costs due to the economy’s newfound standing as an investment grade market.

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TAGS: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Banking, BSP, local banks, Nestor A. Espenilla Jr., Spam Text Messages
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