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SC affirms decision making BDO pay P8 million due to unauthorized withdrawals

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The Supreme Court (SC) affirmed a decision finding Banco de Oro Universal Bank, Inc. (BDO) negligent and ordering it to pay over P8 million to a businesswoman, for allowing withdrawals made from her bank account by someone who claimed to be her representative even without authorization.

In its ruling posted on its official website, the SC found BDO as negligent and should pay damages to depositor Liza Seastres, after it was discovered that the BDO allowed the unathorized transaction made by Anabelle Benaje, chief operating officer of Seastres business, amounting to P8,121,939.59.

“BDO had existing rules and regulations for the withdrawal and encashment of checks through a representative—these were not followed at all,” the SC said.

It was learned that the BDO procedures state how the depositor and payee should be given protection.

It was learned that unauthorized transactions are a violation of the bank’s fiduciary obligation to its depositor and account holder.

The SC said that the BDO failed to protect the bank account of Seastres to ensure that the signature on the withdrawal slip is from Seastre.

“BDO allowed Benaje to personally transact the unauthorized withdrawals without confirming from Seastres the authority of Benaje,” the SC said.

It added that a written authorization is only allowed for deposits,inquiries, pick-ups and printouts for Seastres.

The SC ordered BDO, along with BDO People Support Branch Head Christine T. Nakanishi and BDO Rufino Branch Head Vivian Duldulao to pay Seastres over P8 million for actual and moral damages, attorney’s fees and costs of suit with legal interest of 6 percent per annum until fully paid.

The SC also ordered Benaje to pay the BDO, Nakanishi and Duldulao losses and damages.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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