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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Bank secrecy as Congress priority welcome–Diokno

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BANGKO Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno welcomed the inclusion of the Bank Deposits Secrecy bill among the legislative priorities of the 18th Congress, citing benefits to the banking sector if the bill is enacted into law.

In a statement last Wednesday, the BSP said the Office of the President (OP) has informed the BSP that it has referred the Bank Deposits Secrecy Bill to the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council for prioritization and inclusion in the Common Legislative Agenda for the Executive and Legislative.

According to the Central Bank, the OP’s actions were in response to separate communications sent by the BSP requesting that said bill be included in the list of priority bills and be certified as urgent by the President.

“We are glad that the President has identified the Bank Deposits Secrecy Bill as a legislative priority. In view of this, the BSP will further step up its efforts to coordinate with Congress and other stakeholders for the immediate passage of the measure,” Diokno was quoted in the statement as saying.

Earlier this year, a group of 26 financial and economic organizations issued a statement calling for the urgent passage of the Bank Deposits Secrecy bill.

The group, led by the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (Finex) said the country’s existing bank secrecy laws weaken the exercise of the BSP’s mandate of maintaining a sound and stable banking system as it constrains the central bank’s supervisory activities and assessment, especially in cases involving unsafe and unsound banking practices.

A Bank Deposits Secrecy law “will equip the BSP with tools necessary to prove the commission of fraud, serious irregularity or unlawful activity if a reasonable basis exists,” Diokno said.

“Particularly, this will allow BSP to effectively fulfill its mandate and enable it to have a holistic examination of a banking institution so that certain risk areas will be considered in assessing a bank’s financial condition, risk management and corporate governance,” he added.

The governor said the BSP is in constant communication with the House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries for the interpellation of the bill. The BSP has also touched base with various offices of Senators for possible sponsorship and conducted briefings in this regard, he added.

Diokno said that aside from enhancing the BSP’s capacity to fulfill its mandate of promoting the safety of the banking system, the bill will also enable compliance with international standards on transparency.

“That will also bolster the public and the global community’s trust in the domestic banking system,” the governor said.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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