BPI glitch saw P46M ‘mistakenly withdrawn’ – bank exec

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InterAksyon file photo of a BPI branch.

MANILA, Philippines — Around P46 million was “mistakenly withdrawn” from the Bank of the Philippine Islands during a recent technical glitch, an executive of the bank told the House of Representatives Thursday.

“P46 million were mistakenly withdrawn. There (was a) mis-posting and because of this, there was an amount that was mistakenly withdrawn,” BPI president and chief executive officer Cezar Consing said at the hearing of the committee on banks and financial institutions.

The funds, Consing said, were from the accounts of “small merchants, small businesses” but “most of this is getting paid back … We are making settlements with them one by one.”

The BPI executive said that the mis-posting that occurred last June 6 affected 1.5 million of the bank’s eight million clients.

Joseph Gotuaco, BPI chief financial officer, said the average mis-posting was around P7,000.

“The highest amount that was debited was P1.6 million and the highest credit was P2.5 million,” he said.

Chuchi Fonacier, assistant governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, said reports and evidence reaching them indicate the glitch was caused not by hacking but by human error.

Ivy Patdu, deputy commissioner of the National Privacy Commission, said they consider the incident a breach in the bank’s systems “because a breach is not limited to hacking, it can be an internal breach as … what happened.  Anything that would compromise the availability (and) confidentiality of personal data is (a) breach.”

“In this case, when you say a certain data processing system becomes unavailable or there are unauthorized changes, then definitely this is (a) breach,” she added.

She said the agency continues to coordinate with BPI to ensure that the bank is complying with measures to secure its system and protect its customers.