The Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) has stepped up efforts to provide service and relief to Filipinos to ease difficulties brought by the COVID-19 situation, while at the same time ensuring the safety of clients and its employees.
“As a bank, we have to help ensure that the financial system continues to operate efficiently, no matter how trying the circumstances. We have to do our part to minimize the chances that a health crisis becomes an economic crisis. And we have to do this in a way that minimizes the health risks to the people that we have deployed,” said Cezar Consing, BPI President and CEO.
Some of the Bank’s initiatives that are currently being rolled out include:
1. Branch network. Select BPI branches as well as those of its subsidiaries BPI Family Savings Bank and BanKo remain open to attend to clients basic banking needs with all Over-the-counter (OTC) fees temporarily waived. For its skeleton staffing, BPI is providing special food and transportation allowances, and arranging carpooling or transportation to help employees get to their workplace assignments. Soon, all branches will have acrylic screens, which are currently being delivered to the first batch of branches, to help protect clients and employees.
2. 90-day grace period. Front liners–such as those in the medical field including doctors and nurses, as well as policemen and soldiers who are on duty or called on by the government to deliver service during the enhanced community quarantine period– are given the option to avail of a 90-day deferral in their existing auto and housing loan payments, interest-free.
3. 30-day grace period. BPI clients can avail of a 30-day grace period payment option applicable to personal loans, home loans, auto loans, SME loans, and microfinance loans. All are subject to certain terms and conditions. Credit card holders also have the option to defer payment for 30 days without incurring late payment charges.
4. Waived fees. Transfer fees to other banks using InstaPay and PESONet are waived, as well as transfer fees to other BPI accounts using its mobile app for the duration of the enhanced community quarantine period. BPI’s remittance partners also either waived fees or offered discounts for overseas Filipinos: Kookmin (discounted fees until December 31, 2020), i-Remit (waived fees from March 21-22, 2020), and Remitly (waived fees and higher FX rates from March 25 to June 30, 2020).
5. Corporate citizenship. BPI, together with the Ayala Corporation and Globe Telecom, donated PhP 5M to Philippine Red Cross for the procurement and distribution of 50,000 face masks and 2,000 sets of personal protective equipment (PPE) to medical front liners who are in critical need of protection in hospitals, local government units, and airports.
As the need for social distancing becomes more critical, BPI is also advocating online banking to minimize the need for branch visits during this time. BPI clients are encouraged to do their everyday banking with BPI Online and Mobile App, conveniently and securely at the comfort of their homes.