PH banking system remains ‘sound’ amid Wirecard scandal
The Philippine financial system is sound and very strict rules are in place in the issuance of bank certifications, the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) assured the public in the midst of the German fintech Wirecard controversy.
“Some individuals may try to forge or falsify these documents, but their authenticity can be readily ascertained through careful scrutiny or verification by the appropriate institutions,” the BAP said in a statement on Tuesday.
“We encourage the public to practice due diligence in receiving certifications and documents from third parties by having them validated by the issuing bank,” it added.
The BAP said it continued to work with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and other government agencies to improve local banking processes.
Member-banks are likewise “regularly and proactively strengthening security checks and systems to ensure integrity at every level,” the group said.
The search for Wirecard’s $2.1 billion in “missing” funds earlier turned to the Philippines due to spurious documents alleging that the German firm had assets stashed in two local banks.
Both BDO Unibank and Bank of the Philippine Islands immediately declared that the reported documents were fake and that no financial transaction had ever taken place. Wirecard later said the money likely did not exist.
While financial observers were relieved that BPI or BDO had no liabilities in the first place, many would like to see more stringent measures to reduce risks of bank personnel going rouge. In this case, there were junior personnel in BPI and BDO who were involved in the creation of fabricated documents.
The Philippine Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) is now investigating the matter. AMLC was reported to be looking at local firms that were “entities of interest” in the case: Centurion Online Payment International, PayEasy Solutions and ConePay International. INQ
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