March 20, 2007

Government policy that makes sense

BSP tells banks to ease up on ID requirement

FOR the nameless thousands oppressed by bank front liners at one time or another for not having enough proof of identification, despair no more. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is cutting down on the proofs of identification demanded by banks.

Bangko Sentral governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said on Monday the necessary IDs will be reduced to only two from the four to five IDs demanded by banks. When this will become effective, he did not say.

Banks requiring multiple proofs of identification from clients to do business with them have been known to deny service to anyone who fails to come up with four or even five identification documents.

Company or school IDs, driver’s licenses, passports, tax identification cards, voter’s ID, marriage licenses, GSIS or SSS IDs, and others are the banks’ acceptable proof of identification. “Under the new circular, any two combination of IDs should now be sufficient.”

(More at BusinessMirror, March 20, 2007)

FINALLY, a government policy that makes sense!

I could not contain my excitement as I read this story this morning and just had to fire off a congratulatory email to central bank governor Say Tetangco. More and more, it is only the Bangko Sentral, among all government institutions, that seems to be issuing policy statements and announcements that address the practical side of living in this country. It is now addressing the "human" side of the banking equation.

Majority of Filipinos don't have much money to save, and in the instance that they do have enough to put away, of course they would want to put it in the bank (never mind that they only get less than 1 percent per annum in interest rate). But sometimes their eagerness to save is confounded by the fact that some banks just exist to make one's life harder.

There was a time I was standing in line at an Equitable-PCI branch in Quezon City and I heard an ongoing exchange between a bank officer and a student of perhaps 15 years of age. Being that young, she of course, had only her school I.D. to present. She was still in her school uniform too. The bank officer proceeded to ask her for other ID like a passport (duh!), certification from her school and her barangay, and a few other requirements that she was told to submit to enable her to open an account. Pobrecita naman!

The girl, I observed, was so excited about opening an account, perhaps for the first time in her life to do so, only to be told that she couldn't because she was missing hundreds of requirements! From the looks of her, she wasn't going to deposit more than P1,0000, not enough to set off anti-money laundering alarm bells off, and yet the bank officer just gave her a hard time. Of course the girl was crestfallen. I doubt if she even returned to the bank to submit those requirements. (On second thought, maybe her deposit was too small for the bank that the officer purposely tried to dissuade her from opening an account?)

Perhaps the Bangko Sentral can follow up this policy on easing up of ID requirements with a campaign to save. I remember when I was still in prep or grade 1, there was a massive campaign by the central bank for people to save and put their money in the bank. There was even a catchy TV/radio ad then, the lyrics of which I forget now, that played endlessly. Our school was in a frenzy getting us kids to save. I even remember putting all my coins in a piggy bank which I later bought to my bank, Monte de Piedad I believe it was, so I could deposit my "riches."

These days, kids are all about spending, even if its beyond their means or their parents' means. There is no financial education at all about setting aside money for the future.

Anyhow, I hope the BSP does continue with issuing its practical policies, perhaps next trying to impress on the Bureau of Treasury why having low interest rates discourages savers. More on that next week.

(Photo from

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