A lawmaker at the House of Representatives on Wednesday stressed the need to ensure competition in the banking industry in the interest of the Filipino workers.
In filing House Bill 7619 or the proposed Bank Account Portability for Workers Act, Marikina City Rep. Stella Quimbo said employees should be given the right to choose the banking institution that their wages will be deposited into.
Quimbo noted that in the status quo, many employees lose the element of choice in the market because employers generally dictate which banks they will deposit their employees’ compensation.
“As a result, the chosen bank gains an undue advantage by securing numerous clients because of the choice of one — the employer,” she said.
She said consumers should be able to choose which banks to transact with based on various factors, such as the attractiveness of their financial products, interest rates offered, and the location of their branches.
She said this, in turn, would allow banks to compete with each other by offering better goods and services.
She argued that these competition dynamics are dampened by the current system by leaving it up to employers to decide on behalf of their workers.
“Kaya kahit na sa tingin ng empleyado na may mas magandang serbisyo sa ibang bangko sa mas murang halaga, nape-pwersa siyang magbukas ng bank account sa isang bangko dahil lang sa ito ang pinili ng kumpanya (That’s why even though an employee prefers a bank with better services and affordable fees, he or she is forced to open an account with a bank that the company chose for him or her),” she said.
“Kung minsan, ang bangkong ito ay mas malayo sa isang empleyado kaysa sa iba pang bangko. Dagdag gastos pa tuloy sa kanya ang pag-withdraw ng sahod. Ito ang konteksto kung bakit kailangan nating bigyan ang mga empleyado ng karapatang mamili kung saan ipadadala ang mga kinita nila (Sometimes, the chosen bank is a long way off from the employee compared to other banks. This leads to more expenses just to withdraw his or her salary. This context is the reason why employees should be given the right to choose where their salaries should be deposited into),” she added.
Quimbo cited the Constitution, which prohibits “combinations in restraint of trade and unfair competition.”
Further citing the Constitution, she said the government is mandated to protect the rights and welfare of workers.
“Stronger competition results in better goods and services. Grant the employees their freedom of choice and we improve employee welfare,” she said.
Source: Philippines News Agency