ATMs near Taal danger zones ‘adequately stocked’

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CASH stocked in automated teller machines (ATMs) in provinces near the danger zone are adequate to the local financial consumers’ cash needs in the wake of the Taal Volcano’s unrest.

Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) Managing Director Benjamin P. Castillo told the BusinessMirror on Monday that while banking operations were affected by the ashfall and continuous volcanic activity of the Taal, local lenders usually have an emergency plan for these types of situations.

“Banks are prepared for emergency situations, and have measures in place to ensure continued operations in these times,” Castillo said. “The banking public can be assured that nearby ATMs are adequately stocked and digital services are operational.”

The foreign exchange market did not trade and some local bank branches operating in Region 3, Region 4A and the National Capital Region were closed to the public on Monday.

Following the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) suspension of clearing operations, the BAP announced that they are closing the dollar-peso spot trading and encouraged banks to ensure the safety of their employees.

“Pursuant to BSP Circular  1043 Section 3[b] of Annex A and Malacañang’s announcement of no work of government offices due to Taal Volcano eruption, please be advised that BAP USD/PHP spot trading will be closed,” Castillo said.

“Banks located in heavily affected areas of the Taal Volcanic eruption are closed or with limited operations to ensure the safety of its employees, whereas banks in other areas remain open for banking operations. Online banking functions remain operational for consumer use,” he added.

Castillo encouraged banks to exercise management discretion to ensure the safety and welfare of their people during the emergency situation.

Meanwhile, local banks took to social media to announce to their clients the suspension of their operations during the day. Most banks in the country announced that they are closed in affected areas while others were on shortened schedule.

Bank of the Philippine Islands said that while ATMs and Cash Accept Machines remain available for service in affected branches, access may be intermittent depending on the network and power situation.

Security Bank said in its January 13 advisory that it also closed last Monday all its branches in 16 cities inside Metro Manila and the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon and Lucena City.

The BAP said it remains in “close coordination with the BSP to ensure that the needs of the banking public are met.”

Image credits: Nonie Reyes

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