Press Release
September 22, 2019


Sen. Grace Poe said the application of some banks for increase in automated teller machine (ATM) fees will be thoroughly examined by the Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies when it begins its hearing tomorrow, Monday, Sept. 23.

The panel will also look into the other fees imposed by financial institutions, such as finance charges and other fees for remittances or money transfers of overseas Filipino workers.

"We recognize the convenience of ATM machines and the need to keep them working, but any increase should be warranted and should not be too burdensome on the users, especially the workers. P15 means a lot to the minimum-wage earners," Poe said.

The committee, which she chairs, will preside over the public hearing, which will start at 10 a.m. at the Committee Rooms 2 and 3 of the Senate Building in Pasay City.

Among the invited guests who have confirmed attendance are Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno; Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan II; Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Administrator Hans Cacdac and Director Vivian Tornea; BSP officials Vicente de Villa III, Dindo Santos, Melchor Plabasan; Securities and Exchange Commission Commissioners Ephyro Amatong and Kelvin Lester Lee, and Director Vicente Felizmenio; National Privacy Commission Director Ivy Grace Villasotto.

Other attendees are Nationwide Association of Consumers Inc. Secretary General Moises Dalladen; Bankers Association of the Philippines Directors Benjamin Castillo and Arnel Almaden; Cagayan Economic Zone Authority Deputy Administrator Agrimero Cruz, Spokesperson Mike Gerald David and Corporate Board Secretary Catherine Joy Alameda; and Fintech Alliance PH Chairman Lito Villanueva.

Marshalyn Lajom, Cristina Ignacio Tagalog and Bellajoy Bardolla, who have raised complaints against the fee increase will also attend the hearing.

Poe had filed Senate Resolution No. 96 seeking an inquiry in aid of legislation on the looming increase in ATM fees following the BSP order lifting the moratorium on the fee increases.

Similar resolutions were filed by some of Poe's colleagues at the Senate.

Currently, bank charges range from P10 to P15 for interbank withdrawals and P2 for interbank balance inquiry.

Poe had said in her resolution that "an increase in bank charge is "disadvantageous to an estimated 4.1 million minimum-wage earners who would need to carry the burden of these fees as many of them receive their salaries through ATM cards and withdraw from these machines at least twice a month."

"The practice of imposing hefty bank fees, including ATM charges is financially disadvantageous to our country's more than 58 million ATM cardholders," she added.

The senator said she would ask the banks to justify their request for increase and to explain to the public where the extra pesos they intend to collect from the ATM users would go.

Poe added she would also seek explanation from the BSP on its next step following the lifting of the moratorium on ATM fee increases.

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