BAP Bancnet, Megalink to consolidate this coming week

By Joann Santiago

MANILA, Jan 25 (PNA) – – Retail payment system in the Philippines is seen to further strengthen with the scheduled formal consolidation of Bancnet and Megalink this coming week.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco Jr., in his speech during the recent Bankers’ Night hosted by the central bank, said he is very thankful to banking industry players for being one with regulators in continuously enhancing the sector.

”This is a milestone that we’ve been looking forward to on the way to a greater goal of establishing a national retail payment system that will achieve inter-operability, efficiency, security, and inclusiveness the way we settle our transactions,” he said.

”Indeed, the BSP is pleased that the banking community is fully engaged with us in the implementation of prudent and systematic banking reforms,” he said.

Bancnet and Megalink are two of the three major interbank network provider that connects automated teller machines (ATMs) nationwide. The other one is Expressnet.

These three are already interconnected but regulators have been pushing for further enhancement in their connect for the benefit of their clients and the public.

Relatively, the central bank chief stressed that the country’s banking system is “sound, profitable, and stable and responsive to the need of the economy.”

He said the industry is “responsible in managing the funds entrusted to them by their customers and is increasingly inclusive.”

He also cited that Philippines’ banking system is the sole recipient of a “positive” outlook among the 69 countries being rated by Moody’s Investors Service.

”Our stress test indicate that our banks have enough capital to withstand possible shocks in credit and market risks,” he said.

For 2015, Tetangco said risks remains on back of the strengthening of the US economy, which counters the negative impact of current situation in the euro zone, Japan and China.

Another factor that the BSP is monitoring is the impact of sustained decline in the prices of oil in the international market on the domestic economy as well as the effect of dollar strengthening on peso and the economy as well.

Tetangco said appreciation of the dollar will make the Philippines dollar obligations more expensive but noted that “this will be countered by a small oil import bill because of lower oil prices.”

He also said that lower oil prices is also a downside to the inflation, which is now targeted to stay within the government’s two to four percent target this year and the next.

”Nevertheless, we need to be mindful of the sudden reversal in the trend. If low oil prices persist, the economies of oil-producing countries may eventually weaken and advertently affect the global economy,” he said.

The central bank chief said “we could see a sporadic market volatility in the interim” if there is a reversal of the current trend.

”Nevertheless, from our experience and from our track record, it can be said that we are equipped to handle these situation,” he added. (PNA)