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Markets remain liquid in pandemic





The various banks on Monday committed to uninterrupted delivery of services and support for clients as the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) made mandatory by the pandemic now stretches two weeks.

Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) President Cezar Consing urged member banks to do their best in providing utmost service to their clients during the lockdown period.

“In the last two weeks, since the introduction of the ECQ in response to COVID-19, our member banks have taken extraordinary steps to continue to serve banking customers,” Consing said.

“As we move into week three of the ECQ, the impact of the crisis on the economy, including our corporate and consumer borrowers, is becoming more apparent. Thus, in this ECQ period, we ask our member banks to do their utmost to (keep their services available),” he added.

The BAP chief listed the things that should be provided by member-banks throughout the community isolation period.

“Maintain reasonable lending rates, with the objective of trying to keep such rates as close as possible to pre-ECQ levels, maintain a level of branch presence that allows for the execution of transactions that cannot be performed digitally (and) keep digital channels open,” he said.

Consing called on lenders to ensure the availability of cash in the majority of automated teller machines as well as on open branches during the pandemic.

“Our country needs our very best efforts in these difficult times,” he quickly added.

Earlier, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas made sure the financial systems is adequately liquid by easing on the monetary levers via a cumulative 75 basis point reduction in the rate at which it lends to the industry to date. The banks’ deposit reserve requirement was likewise scaled back by 200 basis points, effectively releasing P180 billion to P220 billion to the financial system

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