THE key to the success and longevity of a bank is trust. Once more, Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) established its trustworthiness with the expert and quick resolution of an incident that occurred on January 4.

BPI’s systems double-posted transactions that were made on ATMs (automatic teller machines), CAMs (cash accept machines), POS (point-of-sale) terminals and online debit cards during the period December 30 and 31.

In his brief note, BPI President and Chief Executive Officer Jose Teodoro “TG” Limcaoco told the BPI board:

“We discovered the errors in the early morning of January 4 and began investigations right away. While we are still ascertaining the root cause, it looks like that missing data for transactions done at that time caused the double posting.

“We addressed the public shortly before 9 am and began corrective actions just before noon.

“I believe we should have all transactions corrected soon.

“As I write this, over 91 percent have been corrected.”

Expectedly, the incident trended on social media. Fortunately, BPI’s quick response and the reassurance that “BPI would correct the balances by the end of the day” and that “all accounts are safe and secure” negated initial adverse reaction.

Depositor Darwin Labor wrote: “Thank you! Kahit P1.6M na debit sa akin, confident akong mare-reverse. And you did!”

Depositor Myca Lacurom Dagalea: “I never doubted your service. Thank you to the team behind restoring our accounts.”

Throughout the day, BPI was in touch with the Bangko Sentral, which was advised of the situation and of BPI’s actions.

Parenthetically, the incident happened just a few days after EVP Mon Jocson retired from BPI. Jocson had been in charge of, among many others, the A-Team that responds to this type of contingency. Congratulations Mon, you certainly left behind a superbly prepared team.

Facing suits

I spent the first working hour of 2023 at the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila. Fellow former BSP monetary board member Freddie Antonio and I had to appear at city hall to personally sign our counter-affidavits to a criminal complaint filed by disgruntled shareholders of a rural bank for an alleged offense that happened ages ago.

One of the complainants, an investment banker and a former colleague in the Ayala group, claimed that the Monetary Board, including former Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr., unreasonably failed to act on the complainant’s petition for relief which would have allowed complainant to sell his interest in the rural bank to a commercial bank.

Records of meetings wherein the complainant participated — and signed off — clearly belie the accusation. Moreover, assuming for the sake of argument that BSP erred, the time for filing the complaint has long been prescribed. Matagal nang patay ang kabayo!

Former MBM Antonio and I were represented by lawyers Jerome Canlas and Diego Lacap of Cruz, Marcelo & Tenefrancia — the same firm which has successfully defended us from similar harassment cases like those filed by the shuttered Banco Filipino.