Leading bank assures banking integrity amid COVID-19 crisis

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 20) – One of the leading banking companies in the country assured on Tuesday that banks can withstand the economic impact of COVID-19.

Although they see a recovery among their businesses in late 2021 to early 2022, Bank of the Philippine Islands Family Savings Bank President Ginbee Go stated they are now more equipped to bounce back than the capability they had during the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

“We are not seeing the same MPL (marginal product of labor) levels that we have seen in the Asian financial crisis. The Philippines is in a much better place with the macroeconomic fundamentals very strong going into the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine),” said Go.

Go expressed their preparedness on higher default rates, because of limited business activities in the country for the past two months due to movement restrictions brought by COVID-19.

“We have capacitized our customer care and our collections team so that we can reach out to our clients who require more relief other than what is currently in place with the Bayanihan Act,” she said.

She also emphasized that restructuring of loans will be done proactively to easily solve the credit losses they endured during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“All banks now are more well capitalized than we were before during the Asian financial crisis. We can weather the storm even if it might take a little bit longer, given the pandemic has affected not just the Philippines but the entire world,” said Go.

The bank also announced another 30-day extension for loans and credit card payments, in compliance with the memorandum issued by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas earlier today.

The 30-day grace period ordered by BSP is also in pursuant to the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, as Metro Manila is still under modified enhanced community quarantine.

“We have extended our loans and credit cards, whether it be auto loans, housing loans, personal loans, and SME loans,” said Go.

Go also assured their clients, particularly in the travel sector which is one of the most affected of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, that they are open for any assistance as the number of branches opening continue to increase under the MECQ.

“We have our customer care hotlines and our e-mail and SMS to reach us,” said Go.

Despite the two-month reduced working capacity in their banks due to the ECQ, the BPI Family Savings Bank chief guaranteed they have stable cybersecurity measures in protecting their depositors from fraud attempts.

Go said they have utilized their social media accounts, sent text and e-mail messages, and did active call-outs among their relationship managers to remind their clients to remain vigilant in any illegal compromises in their bank accounts.

“We also have the one-time password to make sure that every transaction will be made secure and will be only made by the person authorized to do so,” noted Go.