Filipino lender did not lose depositors’ funds in ‘cyber incident’


MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippine central bank said on Thursday that no account holder funds were lost to the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) after the state lender reported suffering a ‘cyber incident’ earlier this year.

The central bank would guarantee the safety and integrity of the financial system and the protection of financial consumers, central bank governor Benjamin Diokno told reporters.

“The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is well aware of the reported UCPB incident and has been in close coordination with the bank since the start of its investigation,” Diokno said.

UCPB, the country’s 13th largest bank by assets, said it was reviewing and strengthening its information technology and security controls following the June incident.

“UCPB remains … a strong and profitable institution,” the bank said in a statement on Thursday.

The bank made no comment on the losses suffered, but the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that the UCPB lost 167 million pesos ($ 3.44 million) from criminals through ATM withdrawals. automatic and electronic fund transfers.

In June, the Philippines was embroiled in a scandal at German payments firm Wirecard AG, which said $ 2.1 billion in missing funds had been deposited in two Philippine banks, a claim denied by the central bank. and lenders.

Nonetheless, the case has heightened fears that fraudsters are targeting the Southeast Asian country’s financial system.

Four years ago, unknown criminals used fraudulent orders on the SWIFT payment system to steal $ 81 million from the Bangladesh central bank account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The money was sent to accounts at Manila-based Rizal Commercial Banking Corp, and then disappeared into Filipino casinos.

The Ministry of Finance and the Anti-Money Laundering Council on Thursday signed an agreement to work together to detect, investigate and prosecute anyone suspected of money laundering or of being involved in the financing of terrorism.

($ 1 = Philippine pesos 48.49)

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