PCHC Bails out BSP on Payment for Cash Management Machines

Article excerpt

Byline: FIL C. SIONIL

The Philippine Clearing House Corporation (PCHC), the clearing firm wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP), has agreed to bail out Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) from a financial obligation worth P330 million for the purchase of the cash management machines.

Bank industry sources and documents obtained by Business Bulletin bail-out was brought about by the threat of a breach of contract suit to have been filed by Paris-based De La Rue, a leading provider of cash handling equipment and software solutions to banks and retailers globally.

Under the arrangement, PCHC will lease out the machines to the BSP for free to efficiently service the cash requirements of banks allegedly "for free." The payment, instead, will come in the form of reduced cost the BSP is charging banks.

Such is called "usufrunct" arrangement with the BSP "as a way for PCHC to recover costs."

"For instance, if banks are now paying BSP P20 for as service fee for the cash requirement distribution, the amount will be substantially reduced to P5. The rent of the cash resorting machines will be deducted from the servicing cost of the BSP," the source explained the process.

According to sources, the bail-out arrangement is not the only issue in question here.

It was pointed out that the "usufrunct arrangement with the BSP," wherein which PCHC will end up acquiring the machines "it has no use for," will eventually have collateral damage on the finances on its finances.

Excluded are the import duties, warehousing, shipment and other related costs.

Sources, too, said the BSP "is also under investigation by the Ombudsman for its role in the cash center project."

The De La Rue suit stemmed from the orders of seven high speed note sorter machines of the Cash Management Center Processing Inc. (CMCPI), which would have originally been a joint venture between the BSP and the BAP but the Commission on Audit (COA) rejected the regulators participation. …