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Banks given one-month extension to comply with e-processing of checks

By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 20, 2017 - 12:00am


BSP Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. issued Memorandum Order M – 2017-010 granting an additional 31 days for participant clearing banks of the Philippine Clearing House Corp. (PCHC) to be fully compliant with the Check Image Clearing System (CICS). File photo

MANILA, Philippines -  The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has given big and small banks a one-month reprieve to fully comply with the electronic processing of checks that kicked off last January.

BSP Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. issued Memorandum Order M – 2017-010 granting an additional 31 days for participant clearing banks of the Philippine Clearing House Corp. (PCHC) to be fully compliant with the Check Image Clearing System (CICS).

Espenilla said the Monetary Board issued Resolution No. 417 granting an additional 31 days for PCHC clearing participant banks to fully comply with the CICS standard by April 21 this year.

Data obtained from the website of the PCHC showed 68 big and small banks are CICS compliant as of March 10. There are 613 universal and commercial, thrift as well as rural and cooperative banks operating in the country.
  
The PCHC implemented the clearing of checks via electronic presentment through its CICS last Jan. 20.

Under the CICS, only the digital images of checks and their electronic payment information would be transmitted to the paying bank, allowing a shorter turnaround time for funds to be credited to the depositors’ accounts.

Depositors who transact with CICS-compliant banks or branches may already withdraw on the next banking day against their validated check deposits.

Meanwhile, banks that are still on paper-based check processing would continue to render the service under existing timelines.

To achieve faster transition to the new process, the BSP has enjoined the remaining non-CICS-compliant banks to take necessary measures to meet the technical requirements of CICS.

The implementation of CICS forms part of the reforms espoused by the BSP to achieve a more efficient and safe payment system as this is critical to the promotion of the country’s financial stability.

The BSP earlier urged banks to remain prudent in implementing the new check clearing process, but at the same time not too rigid in accepting checks.

The central bank upholds consumer protection and promotes efficient payment system to maintain financial stability.

PCHC issued Memo Circular No. 3306 which states that checks that are folded or have staple holes should be accepted by banks as long as the image and the information on the check are still clearly visible upon unfolding or inspection.

Further, checks without the word “only” after the amount written on the check, with empty spaces not ruled out, or information not written in dark-colored ink should not be reasons for non-acceptance by banks.


No standard format on the date on the checks is required.
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