Bankers’ group throws support behind Metrobank

MANILA-- Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) is optimistic that Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. (Metrobank) will easily regain from the alleged fraud by one of its officials that cost the bank at least PHP900 million.

In a statement, BAP clarified that the incident appears to be an isolated incident and we are confident the facts will arise from the ongoing investigations being carried out by both Metrobank and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Such incident is quite unfortunate but we wish to reiterate that banks have established internal controls and systems and instituted separation of functions designed to help prevent crimes of this nature from happening, it said.

BAP noted that Metrobank assures the public that none of its customers have been affected by this incident as it reinforces its commitment to the highest standards of integrity and uphold the protection of each and every one of its customers.

Together with the BSP, we agree that Metrobank, the second largest banking institution in the country with assets of more than Php1.9 trillion will quickly enforce the necessary remedial measures and policies required to prevent such incidents from happening again, it added.

Reports have identified Metrobank vice president Maria Victoria Lopez as the suspect in the disbursement of loans amounting to at least PHP900 million to fake bank accounts allegedly of one of its clients - food and beverage company Universal Robina Corporation (URC).

URC, in a statement Friday, said it believes that it will not incur losses after it was mentioned in the alleged fraud.

Even as Metrobank continues to conduct an internal investigation on the matter, we would like to assure everyone that URC will not incur any financial loss whatsoever and that the integrity and security of URC and its active accounts at Metrobank remain unaffected by the said incident, it said.

It also cited Metrobank President Fabian Dee for giving us heads up advice on this unfortunate development and his assurance that URC will not be financially impacted in any way by this incident.

We take this occasion to also reiterate our confidence with Metrobank as we continue to conduct regular, business as usual transactions with them, it added.

BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla Jr. told reporters Friday that the incident is isolated and assured the public that the central bank is now investigating the issue.

He declined to identify possible sanctions either against the bank or the official, noting that it's too soon to talk about those things.'

He also said that the domestic banking industry remains strong, citing that banks remain well-capitalized and have internal controls that are targeted to cushion impact of any negative eventualities.

No system is perfect but the bank is expected to be resilient to these things, he added.

Source: Philippine News Agency