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BSP to amend rules on joint deposit accounts

Lawrence Agcaoili – The Philippine Star

September 13, 2021 | 12:00am

In a draft circular, the regulator amended the miscellaneous rules on deposits under Section 276 of the Manual of Regulations for Banks (MORB) to provide guidance on the handling of joint accounts, as well as acceptability of electronic signatures and the national ID.

STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is amending its rules on deposit accounts with the acceptance of electronic signatures and the national ID as sufficient proof of identities.

In a draft circular, the regulator amended the miscellaneous rules on deposits under Section 276 of the Manual of Regulations for Banks (MORB) to provide guidance on the handling of joint accounts, as well as acceptability of electronic signatures and the national ID.

The BSP said Republic Act 8792 or the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000 states that electronic signatures could be accepted in the opening of bank accounts.

“For opening an account or establishing relationship under the true and full name of the depositor, all banking institutions are required to simultaneously obtain a minimum of three specimen signatures, either wet or electronic, or biometrics from their depositors and to update the same, as applicable, based on risk and materiality,” the BSP said.

The central bank clarified banks may, at their option, require their depositors to submit clear ID photos.

On the other hand, the BSP added that RA 11055 or the Philippine Identification System Act (PhilSys) and its implementing rules and regulations state that the national ID should be accepted as official and sufficient proof of identity, subject to the appropriate authentication methods, without the need to present other forms of identification.

For accounts used purely for digital or electronic payments or transactions, the regulator said banks could define appropriate due diligence procedures provided that money laundering/terrorist financing risks are effectively managed.

Furthermore, the BSP said the names of deposits of joint accounts should be described as either “and” or “or.”

Under the proposed amendments, the central bank said depositors of joint accounts described using the conjunction “and” should only be allowed to withdraw from said account with the authority of all the depositors named in the joint account.

On the other hand, in joint accounts described using the conjunction “or,” any of the depositors named therein, acting separately, shall be allowed to withdraw from the said account, even without the authority of the other depositors named in the account.

Under both types of joint accounts, the regulator said any of the depositors named in the joint account could place deposits in the account in their individual capacity or even without the authority of the other depositors named in the account.

“Banks shall ensure that the terms and conditions governing joint accounts are part of the deposit agreement, and disclosed to customers. Banks shall ensure that such terms and conditions are explained to and understood by the customers,” it said.

According to the BSP, the provisions of RA 3591 or the Charter of the Philippine Deposit Insurance Act, as amended, should govern the treatment of joint deposit accounts for deposit insurance purposes, as well as the determination of insured deposits in cases where the depositors have obligations with the closed bank.

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