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BAP to banking public: Practice due diligence

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By Lee C. Chipongian

Amid the Wirecard scandal, the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) wants the banking public to know that “very strict” rules are being followed and implemented when it comes to issuing bank-related documents.

“The BAP assures the public that the country’s financial system is sound and that very strict rules regarding the issuance of bank certifications are in place,” said BAP yesteday. “Some individuals may try to forge or falsify these documents, but their authenticity can be readily ascertained through careful scrutiny or verification by the appropriate institutions,” the group added.

BAP members that include the country’s biggest banks, is also assuring its customers that they are in close coordination with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and other government agencies to “improve our processes and our member banks are regularly and proactively strengthening security checks and systems to ensure integrity at every level.”

“We encourage the public to practice due diligence in receiving certifications and documents from third parties by having them validated by the issuing bank,” said the BAP.

Reports that some $2.1 billion of Wirecard money, a German payments company, were in the Philippines are currently under investigation by the BSP, law enforcement agencies such as the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the BSP-led Anti Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno, basing his comments on initial findings, said that not a single piece of the missing Wirecard money entered the country, and that the BSP’s own investigation into the matter could detect no trace of this money trail.

Diokno said there is “no loss” to both local banks that were tagged in the alleged transactions, referring to BDO Unibank Inc. (BDO) and Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI).

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