BSP sets fine for inactive deposit accounts
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has imposed more stringent rules on how banks should deal with dormant deposit accounts.
In a statement Wednesday, the BSP said a monthly dormancy fee of not more than P30 can be imposed only under three conditions: no deposit nor withdrawal from the account during a five-year period; the deposit is below the minimum monthly average daily balance; and the depository bank or non-stock savings and loans association (NSSLA) had complied with the notification requirements. The new rules are contained in Circular No. 928 issued by BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. on Oct. 24.
The BSP said banks must give three notices to dormant accounts: potential dormancy prior to the commencement of the dormancy period; charging of dormancy fee; and escheat of account pursuant to the Unclaimed Balances Act.
“To comply with the notification requirements, a depositor must be notified through postal mail, courier delivery, e-mail, telephone or other means at least 60 days before the deposit becomes dormant; and at least 60 days prior to the charging of dormancy fees,” the BSP said.
“Depositors shall also be notified at least 60 days before the start of proceedings for escheat or the transfer of unclaimed dormant deposits to the National Treasurer. There will be a permanent retention of records of escheated accounts for purposes of tracing of deposits,” it added. The transfer of the account to the state must also be announced in a newspaper of general circulation.
In line with its consumer protection framework, the BSP also required banks to make public the fees they impose on loans, remittances and retail deposit products and services not only on their official websites but also in conspicuous places in all their banking units. This would allow consumers to compare fees and manifest their objections, the BSP said.
The new regulations also provided that banks must only charge senders of domestic fund transfers or remittances./rga
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