Philippines’ Oldest Bank Hit With Transaction Errors; Banking Services Go Offline

(Bloomberg) — Bank of the Philippine Islands’ Internet and mobile banking services went offline Wednesday following double postings of some debit transactions, prompting the country’s central bank to order the lender to reverse the errors.

In an advisory posted on its Twitter account, the lender, also called BPI and the oldest in the Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia, said some automated teller machines, cash accept machines, points of sale and e-commerce debit transactions from Dec. 30 to Dec. 31 were posted twice.

“We are already working to reverse the duplicate transactions,” BPI tweeted, saying in another tweet that it expects to correct the duplicate transactions within the day. “Given the high volume of inquiries on our online banking channels, you may experience intermittent access to our web and mobile app platforms,” it said in another post.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said it is closely coordinating with BPI regarding the incident. BPI has “already identified the root cause of the operational error and committed to reverse the erroneous transactions and restore mobile and internet banking services the soonest possible,” the central bank said in a statement.

The banking regulator said it has instructed BPI “to submit a timeline and updates on the reversal of its erroneous transactions.” BPI President TG Limcaoco didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Similar incidents at BPI had occurred at least twice in the past. Sometime in June 2017, the bank had account errors ahead of a long weekend, and nearly two years later, its system became the subject of the central bank’s probe after a network upgrade that went awry.

Wednesday’s incident drew instant reactions on Twitter, with many asking why they cannot access the BPI banking app and others wondering why there were withdrawals on their accounts. BPI’s first tweet on the matter received more than 200,000 views in about two hours.

The lender, owned by Philippine conglomerate Ayala Corp., assured its clients that their accounts are “safe and secure.”

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