BSP approves sanctions on BDO, UBP over cyber incident

The central bank has approved sanctions against BDO Unibank Inc. and UnionBank of the Philippines (UBP) over the hacking incident that affected depositors in December last year.

In a statement on Thursday, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said it has concluded its investigation into the unauthorized access of accounts with BDO and fund transfers mostly to accounts with UBP.

“Based on the results of the investigation, the Monetary Board (MB) approved the imposition of sanctions on BDO and UBP to ensure that both banks will swiftly address the issues,” the BSP said.

BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno highlighted that “This incident is a reminder that we should continue to enhance our defenses against cyberthreat actors to protect the integrity of the financial system and the interests of depositors.”

For its part, UBP told Daily Tribune that “we are one with the BSP in pushing for stronger measures from banks against such fraudulent activities, towards creating a more secure digital financial environment for all.”

“We have cooperated with BDO and BSP on the incident. In fact, with swift action we were able to help BDO recover a sizeable amount so that it could return it to its customers,” the UBP added.

Moreover, the UBP said that all the recommendations of BSP to avoid such incidents have been implemented and there were no monetary penalties. “We have committed to an increase in capital charge to fortify our operations.”

For its part, Nestor Tan, BDO president told Daily Tribune that “we will work with the BSP to ensure a more secure banking environment.”

The BSP investigation recognized the corrective actions undertaken by both banks related to the cyber incident, including reimbursement by BDO of its affected clients.

The sanctions imposed emphasize the importance of continuously enhancing risk management systems involving cybersecurity, anti-money laundering, and combating terrorism and proliferation financing.

The sanctions also reinforce the need for banks to take a proactive stance in ensuring that their depositors are adequately protected, the central bank added.

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