The Monetary Board enhanced the rules governing dormant deposit accounts and the fees charged by banks on their retail products and services in line with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) Consumer Protection Framework.
Under the reform initiative, the imposition by banks and NSSLAs of dormancy fee has been subject to more stringent conditions. A monthly dormancy fee, not exceeding Ᵽ30.00, can only be imposed if there is no deposit or withdrawal from the account for five years; if the deposit is below the minimum monthly average daily balance; and if the depository bank or NSSLA has complied with the notification requirements.
The new rules also require banks to give three notices pertaining to dormant accounts: (1) potential dormancy prior to the commencement of the dormancy period; (2) charging of dormancy fee; and (3) escheat of account pursuant to the Unclaimed Balances Act.
To comply with the notification requirements, a depositor must be notified through postal mail, courier delivery, email, telephone or other means at least 60 days before the deposit becomes dormant; and at least 60 days prior to the charging of dormancy fees.
Depositors shall also be notified at least 60 days before the start of proceedings for escheat or the transfer of unclaimed dormant deposits to the National Treasurer. There will be a permanent retention of records of escheated accounts for purposes of tracing of deposits.
NSSLAs are required under the new rules to notify its members of the dormancy and the possible imposition of a dormancy fee at least 60 days prior to the dormancy of the account and 60 days prior to the imposition of the dormancy fee.
To enable financial consumers to compare fees, the amended policy also requires banks to post their fees on retail deposit, remittance and loan products/services in their official website and in conspicuous places in all banking units.
Banks shall publicly notify clients of any amendments in the terms and conditions of retail bank products/services. Complementary individual notices to a client, however, shall be sent if the amendments pertain to or will result to fees to be paid or charged on the account of the client.
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 new regulations provide that fees for domestic fund transfers or remittances should be charged only to the sender. 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. Currently, both the remitter and recipient/beneficiary pay for the remittance transaction.
Under the enhanced rules, banks shall also adopt a policy for the fees charged on financial products and services and a fee structure as a measure of Fair Treatment of its clients. The enhanced rules shall be effective six months from publication in a newspaper of general circulation. However, the notification requirements and record retention of accounts subject to escheat shall be effective 15 days after publication 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.