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PIA Press Release
2007/01/17

UnionBank ATM system bogs down; deprives gov't workers of loans, dividends

Davao City (17 January) -- The Union Bank Automated Teller Machine (ATM) system went down depriving millions of government workers of their loans and dividends.

There were long queues of government workers as they tried to access their loans through the automated teller machines (ATMs) of Union Bank only to find out that their transactions cannot be processed.

This has been the inconvenience, state workers have encountered since Monday when the Union Bank ATM system went offline Friday, eventually disabling its network with megalink connected banks.

Union Bank handles the E-Card System of Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) which now channels their loans and dividends of more than one million government workers through ATMs.

Government workers who have ATM accounts from nearby areas have traveled their way to Davao City to directly transact with Union Bank ATMs or over the counter transactions ,

Since Union Bank required clients to leave their ATM cards and claim them the next day when doing over the counter transaction, most preferred to line up at the Union Bank ATM booths.

Government workers who joined the long queue Monday morning at the Union Bank ATM booth in Victoria Plaza didn't mind the rain while those who stayed on the line in the afternoon, just bore the heat of the sun.

Some of those who wanted to withdraw their dividends got them while others did not but those who had filed their GSIS loans last week failed to get their much needed cash promised to be released either later on the day of filing or the next day thereafter.

Jean, a government worker of a national agency went her way from Tagum City to Davao City, hoping she could avail her loan with GSIS to send money home and to pay urgent bills.

She hopped from one bus to the other at the check point in Ilang, Davao City to cut delays in her travel. She joined the long queue at the Union Bank Branch in Victoria Plaza only to find out that the loan had not yet been transmitted to her account.

She blamed the GSIS thinking that there was delay in posting her loan application.

Upon verifying, GSIS furnished her a copy of GSIS check transmittal to Union Bank made on January 12.

"The problem is with Union Bank. We have already uploaded your loan ma'm." Jean was told.

Checking at Union Bank Claveria Branch, Jean again noticed the long queue of clients most of whom were fellow government workers.

"Gigi" (name withheld on request) a certain Union Bank personnel explained that the E-card division of Union Bank has yet to credit GSIS loans to GSIS E-card accounts.

Gigi failed to fully explain what was wrong with the Union Bank system, but she said its main office "is updating the system."

But there was no prior notice from Union Bank Management that it would be doing such, not even giving apologies for the inconvenience its system had been causing to its clients.

GSIS Davao City Branch Manager Mario Mojica agreed that Union Bank should have extended apologies for the inconvenience.

"I would suggest that they (Union Bank) should do that," Mojica said.

But contrary to what Gigi of Union Bank Claveria Branch said, Mojica bared that the Union Bank electronic server nationwide "bogged down."

In an interview, he expected as he was told by Union Bank management in Davao City branches, that the system would be restored Monday afternoon but as of press time, transactions with Union Bank ATM still could not be processed.

"Dapat ayusin na nila dahil masisira sila. We (GSIS) are not their only client," Mojica said.

Mojica however assured GSIS members of no systems failure with GSIS and that "it has continued processing loans and transmitted them to Union Bank."

He received no assurance from Union Bank management when its system could be fully restored.

Gigi of Union Bank Claveria Branch could only say "as soon as possible." "Wala man pud mi mahimo dinhi kay igo lang man pud mi diri mo verify. Ang problem sa Manila man," she explained.

Mojica sympathized with the government workers, saying "kami nga hindi naka withdraw ng aming sweldo," he said. (PIA XI/JMDA) [top]

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