MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) on Wednesday, June 7, assured its clients that they will get back the money they lost due to a system glitch that caused unauthorized withdrawals in a number of accounts.
In an interview on ANC on Wednesday, BPI president and CEO Cezar Consing apologized to their clients and vowed to return their money within the day. (READ: BPI system glitch leads to clients ‘losing money’ in accounts)
“We want to assure them that they have not lost money. This is simply a glitch. The amount will be restored by the end of the day,” Consing said.
“We apologize very earnestly and very sincerely to our clients who were affected by this,” he added.
Consing said the bank system had to be taken down on Wednesday to fix the glitch and later in the day, “the right amount will appear” in the account balance of affected clients.
“[There will be] results within the day….We ask our clients for a little patience. We had to bring our system down to allow us to correct this. Our branches are open….They are there to serve you,” he said.
With the system down, there will be a temporary suspension of access to electronic channels, the bank said in a statement.
Asked what BPI will do to prevent a repeat of the incident, Consing said: “We will exercise every precaution…to ensure that this will not happen again. We can’t be in the business of absolute certainty but what we can be certain about is we will make every effort that this will not happen again….What we are certain about is no one loses money on account of this system glitch.”
The BPI chief also reiterated the bank’s statement that the incident was “a very unfortunate glitch” and “not a hack at all.”
On accounts that received money because of the glitch, Consing said: “I hope they don’t spend that money. That’s money that is not really theirs and we’ll make that correction today too.”
In an interview on ANC, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr said that for now, the BSP accepts the official statement of the bank that the incident was caused by a glitch and was not due to hacking.
“I think we should, for now, accept the official statement of BPI. We have no reason to believe otherwise at this point in time,” Espenilla said.
“For now, it’s important that BPI resolves this as quickly as possible. We’re taking their assurance that this is not a hack and that no money is lost,” he said.
Asked if there would be an investigation into the incident and whether BPI may face penalties, the BSP chief said: “No, I think we should let the situation calm down since measures are being undertaken to fix the problem. Let the bank fix the problem first. There’s time enough to look deeper into the issue.”
“We would like to make sure that our banks are taking proper measures to control all kinds of issues, including operation errors,” he added.
Espenilla said the incident appeared to be “isolated” but the bank should take proper steps to keep it from recurring.
“They may need to review their internal procedures so that a situation like this will not happen again. It would be very detrimental for them if situations like this keep on happening,” he said.
Many BPI clients woke up on Wednesday morning to learn that money had been deducted from their accounts, causing an uproar on social media. BPI attributed the fiasco to an “internal data processing error.”
Meanwhile, BPI said in an advisory that all branches of BPI and BPI Family Savings Bank would remain open until 7:30 pm on Wednesday. – Rappler.com