BSP slaps sanctions on Metrobank for P1.75-B internal fraud case

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) officially sanctioned Ty-led Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company (Metrobank) in connection with an internal fraud case.

The internal fraud, which was allegedly carried out by one of the bank's vice presidents, was initially estimated to amount to P900 million but was later thought to be as high as P1.75 billion.

Charges of qualified theft, falsification, and violation of the General Banking Law were filed against Maria Victoria Lopez, vice president of the Corporate Service Unit at Metrobank's Makati City head office, in August.

In a statement on Tuesday, November 28, the BSP Monetary Board said it had approved sanctions on Metrobank.

"The sanctions imposed ranged from reprimand to suspension of directors and officers who failed to perform adequate oversight and/or have been complacent/remiss of their duties and responsibilities," the statement reads.

"Likewise, MBTC was required to allocate approximately P4.45 billion of its capital on a consolidated basis to cover for higher operational risk. The requirement is subject to periodic review and would be lifted when the Bank is determined to have put in place adequate risk control measures to address the weaknesses noted."

Beyond that, the BSP also required Metrobank to submit a Letter of Commitment, to be implemented and completed within one year, to enhance corporate governance, credit administration, internal controls and audit, risk management, and customer on-boarding and monitoring processes.

The BSP said it took into consideration Metrobank's strong financial condition and immediate corrective actions to contain further financial damage. The Ty-led bank is currently the second largest in the country with P1.62 trillion in assets as of June 2017.

Last year, the BSP fined Yuchengco-led Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) a record P1 billion in connection with its role in the Bangladesh Bank heist. – Rappler.com