Taking care of our own

The spirit of “Bayanihan” was never more pronounced than the time the whole country bonded together in multi-pronged recovery and reconstruction efforts following the bout with super typhoon Yolanda. Political, religious, and ethnic differences were temporarily shelved in favor of helping each other bounce back from that harrowing ordeal.

The rural banking industry epitomizes that Filipino spirit when bankers and bank staff alike poured in more than P2 million in total to help those in the industry who were adversely affected by Yolanda.

As of January 16, the contributions have reached P2,656,512.65. Both the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines and its technical arm, the Rural Bankers Research and Development Foundation, Inc., chipped in P500,000 each, while rural banks poured in a total of P1,656,512.65.

A total of 747 officers and staff of rural banks who endured and survived the super typhoon onslaught benefited from this gesture. Each of the 747 employees is getting P3,550.

In turn, the rural banks will assist their respective clients who were also devastated by Yolanda.

Earlier, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas extended special regulatory relief measures to all banks in areas devastated by Yolanda, on top of its standard relief package, to enable lenders like rural banks to better assist calamity victims.

Thrift, rural and cooperative banks with head offices in the affected areas were allowed to apply for condonation of annual supervisory fees for this year. Depending on the severity of losses that a bank has incurred, the BSP may condone the supervisory fees for up to five years.

The additional special regulatory relief measures were made available to banks in Palawan, Iloilo, Aklan, Capiz, Cebu, the Samar provinces and Leyte. These provinces were earlier declared under Proclamation No. 682 as “severely affected” areas.

The affected banks were likewise allowed to book on a staggered basis over a five-year period the losses on loans outstanding as of November 7, 2013 that are partially or fully condoned and written off. Impairment losses on bank premises, furniture, equipment and real and other properties acquired may also be recognized over a staggered period of up to five years.

The BSP will also allow flexibility on branch relocation and temporary offices to a more viable location within the affected area for a period not exceeding six months.

The submission of periodic and branch reports will also be relaxed, while presentation of the required documents of clients will be allowed without sacrificing appropriate controls.