BSP sanctions Metrobank for ₱1.75B fraud case

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 28) — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Tuesday formally slapped sanctions on Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company (Metrobank) related to to the ₱1.75 billion fraud case allegedly perpetrated by one of its officials.

In a statement Tuesday, the BSP Monetary Board said it approved sanctions on Metrobank.

"The sanctions imposed ranged from reprimand to suspension of directors and officers who failed to perform adequate oversight and/or have been complacent/remiss of their duties and responsibilities," the statement read.

The Vice President of Metrobank's Corporate Service Unit, Maria Victoria Lopez, reportedly falsified a manager's check to an individual, to defraud a client via two loans—one worth ₱900 million, and another worth ₱850 million.

Lopez was then charged of qualified theft, falsification, and violation of the General Banking Law of 2000.

The board also required Metrobank to allocate around ₱4.45 billion of its capital for 'higher operational risk.'

"The requirement is subject to periodic review and would be lifted when the Bank is determined to have put in place adequate risk control measures to address the weaknesses noted," it stated.

The board also ordered Metrobank to submit a Letter of Commitment to be implemented and completed within a year.

Metrobank, in a separate statement, said it accepts accountability and command responsibility for the incident.

"(Metrobank) assures the public that bank operations remain business as usual," the statement read.

The bank repeated that no customer was affected by the fraud case.

"This is an isolated incident. The perpetrator acted alone and for her sole benefit.  She has been apprehended and cases against her have been filed," it added.

The bank filed a joint complaint-affidavit against Lopez on August 1, one week after the National Bureau of Investigation arrested her.

Metrobank named two other conspirators, Hubert Co and Sue Sai. Co was named as payee of the cashier's checks, while Sai's name was identified as the person who facilitated the check's deposit and the fund transfer into another bank account.