By LEE C. CHIPONGIAN
The central bank is more concerned about the rising threats of cybersecurity than any worries about bank failures because of unpaid or soured loans.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said local banks are generally capable of enforcing cybersecurity with increased use of digital banking services while on lockdown. “Because of more widespread use of digital transactions, there’s also a corresponding increase in cyber threats,” said Diokno during his online “GBED Talks”.
When asked if the BSP is more concerned about cybersecurity than bank failures, Diokno said the latter is not something they see in some near future.
“I don’t even see that (bank failures) in the horizon. Why? Because the BSP has really prepared our banking industry well for this type of crisis,” said Diokno.
Cyber-related crimes have increased and the BSP became focused on ensuring that banks can handle cyber attacks such as phishing. “With the significant shift to digital financial services, it is critical to be vigilant against fraudsters and cyber criminals who take advantage of this change in consumer behavior,” said Diokno.
The BSP received about 100 complaints on phishing crimes. The number is still small compared to other complaints relating to the “Bayanihan To Heal as One” Act (Bayanihan Act) because the central bank has enhanced cyber surveillance, a massive cybersecurity campaign through the banks and are in constant collaboration with law enforcers. Also before the community quarantine, the BSP has instructed all banks to adopt multi-layered security defenses against financial crimes while on lockdown.
As for concerns of non-payment of loans by borrowers and the impact of the extended 30-day grace period given by banks, the BSP has no data yet to present projections. But since the containment measures have been downgraded to a general community quarantine (GCQ) situation, the grace period is no longer effective after June 1 which means all loans are “due and demandable.”