I seldom read the papers nowadays simply because there is little need when you have tons of updates on your Facebook wall. But when I came across an alleged bank robbery of 17M a few days ago, I knew I had to double check the facts especially since I’ve been writing about Unionbank in a few of my blogposts.
According to a news item, the arrest was made “after the Union Bank of the Philippines – represented by Cash Services Group Head Vincent Paul Castillo – learned that the suspect made an unauthorized cash transfer on Friday afternoon amounting to P17,029,000.00 from the bank’s Ortigas Cash Center to its Caloocan Cash Center to allegedly cover-up the theft.”
The incident follows the big “System Glitch” which almost paralyzed the operations of another big bank, causing depositors to panic because of the erroneous amounts reflected on their accounts.
This made me think, “If it could happen to such a big banks, how safe are the smaller ones?”
I guess a lot of people shared the same sentiment over social media; some expressed concern as to how such an incident was even possible under the watch of the bank involving one of their own at that! Some even questioned the safety of putting their hard earned savings in the bank thinking that their money might be safer in their own hands. And then there are the conspiracy theorists.
But is there really cause for alarm?
I think taking this incident as a sign that keeping money in banks is not safe is illogical to downright absurd.
Banks have large amounts of money, so they will always be targets. The fact that these incidents are as isolated as they are, is a testament to how effective the redundant security measures they have in place really are.
It is also worth noting that in all of the banking mishaps that have happened lately, at the end of the day, the worst thing that happened was that it caused long lines and a bit of inconvenience.
In both cases, no one has come forward to say they have lost any money, let alone a significant amount of money. Banks are huge, complex and dynamic systems that manage huge volumes of cash in real time. The fact that incidents such as this are not everyday occurrences, is actually a testament to how robust and fault tolerant their electronic safeguards are.
As for the fact that this employee was caught stealing money, and the manner in which she was caught, should actually make us trust in the banking system even more because it proves that they have all the safeguards in place.
When you think about it, 17 million pesos is a small amount for a bank especially if it is “electronic money”, as opposed to physical cash. The fact that such a small amount was flagged and narrowed down to a single perpetrator quickly is even worth commending and that the money’s electronic trail was far more fast, effective and accurate than any physical trail could ever be.
Banks will always be targets of thieves, but I would rather have these thieves targeting the banks than my home.
At least a bank has guards, layers of redundant security, and expertise and then finally insurance. While I only have a big stick and some hidden weapon in my home. And just think about losing sleep and not being able to leave your home because of the money you are keeping–this is one of those rare cases where I guess its okay to say–better them than me. Right?