Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

Former BDO banker Walter Wassmer joins Bangko Sentral’s Monetary Board

Lance Spencer Yu

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Former BDO banker Walter Wassmer joins Bangko Sentral’s Monetary Board

First Philippine Holdings Corporation

Veteran Swiss-Filipino banker Walter Wassmer has known President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. since their grade school days at La Salle Green Hills

MANILA, Philippines – After an “unprecedented” ghost employee scandal resulted in the resignation of two Monetary Board members from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has appointed seasoned banker Walter Wassmer to fill one of those vacant positions.

Wassmer previously spent decades in senior positions at BDO Unibank, the Philippines’ biggest bank. He served as a consultant and non-executive director for BDO from April 2022 onwards. Before that, he was a senior executive vice president and head of the bank’s institutional banking group from 1997 to 2022.

Wassmer was also appointed as a senior board advisor of First Philippine Holdings Corporation in November 2022.

He was described as a “top banker” in the Presidential Communications Office press release that announced his appointment on Thursday, July 11.

Wassmer also happens to be childhood friends with the President. The Swiss-Filipino banker has known Marcos since their grade school days at La Salle Green Hills.

“We were together in school. We were together in the Boy Scouts. We went out camping together,” Wassmer said in an interview with state-owned Radyo Pilipinas on June 30, 2022, when Marcos took office.

“Very warm, very accommodating. A true friend,” Wassmer said about Marcos.

Ghost employee scandal

Wassmer’s appointment comes at a crucial time when the BSP’s once-vaunted integrity has been called into question.

For months, the BSP has been investigating reports of “ghost employees” who supposedly got hefty paychecks despite not showing up at the central bank. Two Monetary Board members were allegedly involved in the scheme.

“The irregularities appear unprecedented in an organization that upholds integrity and professionalism at all levels. The BSP remains committed to upholding that,” the central bank said in a statement.

Although the BSP has not named names, other outlets such as The Philippine Star have identified Anita Aquino and Bruce Tolentino. Both have since submitted their resignation letters to Marcos.

Aquino and Tolentino were both appointed by former president Rodrigo Duterte.

With Wassmer’s appointment, there is still one more seat on the Monetary Board that needs to be filled. The central bank’s highest policy-making body also includes the following:

  1. BSP Governor Eli Remolona Jr., sitting as chairperson
  2. Finance Secretary Ralph Recto, sitting as the government sector representative
  3. Former finance secretary and BSP governor Benjamin Diokno, sitting as a private sector representative
  4. Romeo Bernardo, sitting as a private sector representative
  5. Former national treasurer Rosalia de Leon, sitting as a private sector representative


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Lance Spencer Yu

Lance Spencer Yu is a multimedia reporter who covers the transportation, tourism, infrastructure, finance, agriculture, and corporate sectors, as well as macroeconomic issues.