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Advisory to bank owners: safeguard depositor funds

Felipe Medalla, the governor of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), compared bank owners to governmental employees and said that the former’s responsibility is to preserve their depositors’ money.

Medalla emphasized the necessity to update banking laws to deal with the rapid changes in law and financial innovations in his speech during the book launch of “Banking Laws of the Philippines – Annotated” at the Central Bank’s main headquarters in Manila on Friday night.

He said that since 80% of the money that banks lend is made up of depositor money and only 20% is owned by the bank, having banking laws means being more loyal to depositors than the owner.

“A banker is similar to a public servant in several ways. He is looking after the money of the people. So, when regulators carry out their duties, banking regulations must provide them with excellent protection.

According to BSP data, the country’s banking system has PHP20.7 trillion in total assets as of the end of February 2022, an increase of 7% year over year. Most of these assets are financed primarily by capital injection and deposit growth.

94.3 universal and commercial banks own a percent, or PHP19.5 trillion, of the total assets.

Following this are rural and cooperative banks at 1.5 percent, or PHP312 billion, and thrift banks with a share of 4.2 percent, or PHP872.8 billion.

According to Medalla, the central bank requires strong legal protection to perform its duties effectively.

HE CLAIMED THAT the BSP’s capacity to deal with excessive liquidity that is swirling through the economy and having a detrimental influence on the local currency has improved due to the most recent revision to the law that permitted it to borrow money from the general population.

“Previously, we were not permitted to borrow from the general public. We can now do that thanks to the most recent amendment to the legislation. This has enabled us to improve our financial instruments,” he said.

The BSP president noted that there would always be positive and negative aspects of innovation in the payments system, including digitalization. For this reason, he added, “It is important to chronicle these changes (in banking laws) to see where we have come from and to chart where we will go.”

He said that regulations and beliefs are “extremely important for a progressive and inclusive society,” explaining why laws, convictions, and values keep self-interest from running amok.

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