Press Releases

Salceda calls for passage of the consumer financial protection act, given bank account hacks and other financial scams; House tax chair wants probe of user protections by banks

December 12th, 2021

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district), principal author of House Bill No. 6768, or the Consumer Financial Protection Act, called on the Senate to pass its own version of the law to protect users of banking and other monetary services, in response to recent incidents of phishing, hacking, and other financial services scams.

“Unfortunately, we do not have a comprehensive framework for protecting the users of online financial services just yet. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) deals with issues on a per-circumstance basis, but our laws are not yet there. As a result, scammers feel emboldened to cheat others of their hard-earned money, because the BSP cannot possibly be everywhere, monitoring financial products,” Salceda said.

“I call on the Senate to pass the measure urgently, especially as our financial regulators also support the measure.”

“A very powerful portion of our proposed measure is that it would allow consumers to elevate their complaints to the BSP, and the BSP to file independent civil action, if the banks do not handle complaints in a satisfactory way.”

“Cybersecurity and user protection is still particularly lacking. User verification systems, identification features, are still very susceptible. Users are also not properly or adequately informed about scams,” Salceda said.

Salceda called this a “major challenge to financial inclusion, as citizens who get scammed may be discouraged from availing of financial services.”

He also called this a “threat to the confidence of consumers – Filipinos and foreigners alike – in the security of our financial system. Of course, scams are everywhere and in every country, but our own laws have very little to say directly about these financial scams,” Salceda added.

“You look at the releases of banks about such scams, and you see that they place the onus of protecting money on their own users. They banked with you for a reason. They could have just hid their money under the mattress. You charge fees to protect their money, and they’re not cheap fees compared to that of other countries. The least you could do is beef up your security measures,” Salceda also said, chiding banks.

“The service fees charged by the bank in question, BDO, accounted for around 14% of their total income as of their latest quarterly report. That’s one of the highest among major banks. You would expect them to deliver better on the service security front, especially since that’s what their consumers pay for,” Salceda said.

“I am also filing a resolution calling on the Committee of Banks and Financial Intermediaries to assess the level of retail client protection among banks in the country, and one with the Committee on Public Accounts to see how prepared our cybercrime prevention units are in implementing the anti-fraud provisions of the cybercrime law,” Salceda added.

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