BPI 'system glitch' angers, worries clients

BANK of the Philippine Islands (BPI) bankholders have reported losses from their accounts following the bank's "system glitch" incident on Wednesday morning.

Some vented on social media, while the Ayala-led bank issued on their official Facebook page its statement on the incident.

"Due to an internal data processing error, some clients may have seen their accounts debited twice or credited twice for a past transaction. We are currently correcting the mispostings," the bank said at 8 a.m. yesterday.

In Cebu, BPI Capitol branch relationship manager Maximo Rey Eleccion said that the bank received calls from clients, inquiring about their deposit accounts.

"We are in normal operations, clients can withdraw and deposit in any of our branches. Although there are many phone and walk in inquiries," said the local banker in a text message.

However, BPI ATM branches yesterday could not process withdrawals.

BPI bank client and businesswoman Kleyuphe Estrada said she was supposed to deposit a five-digit amount to her account on Tuesday.

"Good thing I did not deposit that amount to BPI," she said, after hearing the glitches yesterday. Instead, she deposited the amount to another bank.

Asked if her deposit account experienced losses, she said she could not inquire about her balance in BPI's online banking service nor can she check it on BPI's automated teller machines (ATM).

Others, who took their fury to social media, said they lost thousands of pesos.

William Rabusa, an electronics engineer who works for a business process outsourcing company in Cebu City, said he lost P10,000.

Others even experienced having negative figures reflected on their accounts.

Aldo Banaynal, a photojournalist, said his account balance stood at (negative) -P3,700 when he checked it in an ATM machine yesterday morning after hearing the news on BPI's glitches.

In a press conference yesterday in Makati City, BPI senior vice president Catherine P. Santamaria said BPI depositors may check their accurate balance over-the-counter. The bank suspended its ATM and online banking transactions on Wednesday so it could fix the system.

The executive also appealed to their clients not to withdraw the additional funds credited to their account following the system glitch.

While others encountered losses, some accounts contained higher balance compared to the actual amount.

"Please don't touch the money because we will automatically take it out. 'Wag ninyo please galawin 'yung accounts. We are correcting the situation," Santamaria said, as quoted in news reports.

The discrepancies came after an internal data processing error in the bank's system, which caused the double posting of debits and credits from April 27 to May 2. In other words, deposits made during the said dates were doubled, while withdrawals were processed twice, causing some accounts to register negative balances.

Clients who withdraw from the wrongly credited amount will force the bank to deduct the same amount from the account in the next deposit, Santamaria said.

BPI, the country's third largest bank in end 2016 in terms of assets, said it will fix the glitch within the day.
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