BSP revises rules on dormant accounts, bank fees

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The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has revised the rules on dormant deposits and bank fees to further protect the public.

Currently, bank accounts that are considered dormant are those that have no deposits or withdrawals for about two years. Dormant fees range from about Php 200 and above per month.

However, the BSP said its policy-making Monetary Board (MB) has revised the rules and now require banks and non-stock savings and loan associations (NSSLAs) to implement a monthly dormancy fee not higher than Php30.

The fee can only be imposed “if there is no deposit or withdrawal from the account for five years, if the deposits is below the minimum monthly average daily balance, and if the depository bank or NSSLA has complied with the notification requirements,” it said.

Banks are now required to notify dormant accounts holders of the situation in three instances. First is before the start of the dormancy period; second, when the dormancy fee will be imposed; and third, when the account will be placed under escheat or when it will reverted to the National Treasurer in line with the Unclaimed Balances Act.

The BSP said a depositor must be informed through mail, courier delivery, electronic mail (e-mail) telephone call and other means 60 days before the account becomes dormant and 60 days before the imposition of dormancy fees.

For escheat, banks are required to inform owners of soon-to-be dormant account of the process 60 days before the proceedings commence.

Banks are now also required to post fees of their products and services on their web sites and in conspicuous places in banks.

“Clients are granted the opportunity to manifest objection to amendments to fees’ terms and conditions and the right to exit the contract without penalty,” the BSP said.

Meanwhile, the central bank said new regulations were also approved for domestic fund transfers or remittances.

Under the enhanced rules, only the sender should be charged the service fee.

“This enables determination of the exact amount to be received by the beneficiary and allows consumers to decide on the most cost-efficient means for remitting money,” the BSP said.

The central bank said the new rules would take effect six months after the publication of these on a national daily but “the notification requirements and record retention of accounts subject to escheat shall be effective 15 days after public to cover the next round of escheat in January 2017.”

“The BSP fosters a robust consumer regulatory environment to enable citizens to make wiser financial decisions and to contribute actively to the promotion of Financial Stability,” it added.

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