CEBU, Philippines – Local clients of the Bank of the Philippine Islands were not spared from the internal system error the bank encountered yesterday that shocked many of its account holders.
On its official statement dated June 7, BPI recognized concerns from its clients whose accounts were “debited twice or credited twice for a past transaction,” owing the problem to an internal data processing error.
“We have identified the root cause and are pleased to report that our efforts to resolve this are progressing well,” the bank said.
It said further that internal system error has caused “some transactions occurring between April 27 and May 2 to be double-posted.”
The bank suspended access to electronic channels such as the BPI Express Online apps and website so it could resolve the problem but all its branches remained open. The bank also extended its banking hours until 7:30 p.m.
BPI also assured its clients that transactions and account balances will be maintained, taking away fears that they might lose their money.
Luke Velasco, 26, could only be thankful that he and his wife had some cash on hand yesterday, especially that they were running out of grocery supply.
“I and my wife often use this account for groceries and some other house stuff purchases but then that happened… and the bad thing also is my wife’s primary bank is also BPI so we’re screwed if this would not be fixed today,” he told The Freeman yesterday.
Velasco, a video editor, said he first learned of the problem from social media, prompting him to go to an ATM to check at J Center Mall at pat 10 a.m.
To his surprise, he only had a little over P3,000 from the P6,900 in his account.
“Now, a little over P3,000 (was left). It didn’t reach P3,100 so around P3,900 was debited,” he said.
Enrique Felisario II said he was about to transfer funds online at 7 a.m. yesterday when he realized his account only contained negative P3,000.
“I was to transfer cash online and when I accessed my account, I discovered I had a negative P3,000 plus balance. I was shocked and immediately, I felt the worry increasing in my body. There were several questions in my head like, what if I could retrieve my deposit? What will happen next?” he shared.
He said he thought initially that it was only him who was having problems until he saw some friends complaining online about their BPI accounts.
“I really thought that I’m the only one who’s experiencing it. I really thought that I’m the only victim, but when I check my Facebook account, I noticed some friends complaining about it,” he said.
He said the problem inconvenienced his business. He is a trainer and counselor of Rainbow playroom psychological services and, at the same time, imports mobile phones and electronics.
“The incident today (June 7) has caused delay of some important transactions… I transfer money, and receive money for my business, and for payments,” he said.
BPI issued an apology Wednesday morning its President and CEO Cezar Consing explaining that the bank’s system picked up the wrong files or transactions when it ran a batch process Tuesday evening.
“It picked up the files or transactions dated April 27 to May 2 and it ran it and so what happened is if you are a client and you transacted with us between April 27 and May 2, you may, and I emphasize may, have a situation where your transaction was recorded twice,” Consing told ANC.
Consing stressed that the data processing glitch was an internal issue and not a case of hacking. BPI took its systems down on Wednesday morning to correct the mispostings.
The BPI president assured their clients that the double debits and double credits would be corrected within the day.
“I’d like to emphasize that when we complete this process, we will make sure that no one, I repeat no one, has lost money. I apologize very earnestly and very sincerely to our clients who had been affected by this,” Consing said.
Consing also advised their clients who may have more money in their accounts not to spend the money.
“It’s obviously money that’s not theirs and we will make that correction today too,” the BPI president said.
The Ayala-led bank is focused on making sure that the mispostings are corrected but Consing stressed that they are more sensitive to clients who think they might have lost money. — with Philstar.com (FREEMAN)