Bill to ease PH bank secrecy stacked with safeguards, says BSP | Inquirer Business

Bill to ease PH bank secrecy stacked with safeguards, says BSP

By: - Business News Editor / @daxinq
/ 03:43 PM August 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The proposed relaxation of the country’s bank secrecy law pending in Congress is stacked with safeguards that will ultimately redound to the benefit of Filipino depositors who will be better shielded from criminal elements.

Thus said the head of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Monday (Aug. 30), who reiterated the agency’s support for a new law that would give regulators better access to information and replace the country’s existing deposit secrecy framework—one of the most prohibitive in the world.

“Ultimately, the reforms will benefit depositors as the BSP’s capacity to shield them from losses due to fraud and other unlawful activities will be strengthened,” BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said in a statement.


Provisions of the bill limits inquiries to specific persons only; sets parameters for information sharing; and protects against political persecution, harassment or attempts to hamper competition in trade and commerce.


The BSP chief explained that results of bank inquiries or examinations of the BSP shall not be arbitrarily disclosed. Nevertheless, the BSP may share the examination results with the courts and other regulators only if it is necessary to prevent or prosecute an offense or crime.

The proposed reforms will likewise place the country’s deposit secrecy law at par with international standards. In fact, the Philippines is the only remaining country in the world with a bank secrecy law after Lebanon passed legislation lifting the secrecy on bank deposits last December 2020.

Consequently, this was expected to strengthen the trust of the Filipino public and the global community in the domestic banking system.

The BSP is committed to further boost its efforts to coordinate with the two chambers of Congress for the immediate passage of the Bank Deposits Secrecy Bill.

Earlier, the BSP chief explained that results of the inquiry and examination by the BSP shall be for the exclusive use of the BSP, and shall not be made available to any person or entity, except to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp., Anti- Money Laundering Council, Department of Justice and the courts.

Access by these agencies to depositors’ information is contingent only upon an inquiry or examination being necessary to prevent or prosecute any offense or crime.


In addition, under the BSP’s version of the proposed law, any inquiry would be limited to the deposit account of the stockholder, owner, director, trustee, officer or employee of an entity that was subject to the supervision or regulatory power of the BSP, the representative or agent, the related party, or any of the conspirators of the person involved in the commission of fraud, serious irregularity or unlawful activity.

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TAGS: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, bank secrecy, Benjamin Diokno, Business, Congress, restrictions

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