Poor customer service at Banco De Oro and Union Bank
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Poor customer service at Banco De Oro and Union Bank

Have you ever tried withdrawing from a Banco De Oro ATM machine and experience the machine telling you that the transaction has failed, but later realize that it had actually debited the amount you were trying to withdraw?  Have you ever tried making a complaint at the BDO office and Union Bank only to be ignored?

That’s what happened to a friend of mine, a single mother who was trying to withdraw her money at a BDO ATM Machine.  The banks actually lost her money and have taken turns denying that something went wrong.  Officers at both banks are now ignoring her complaint.

Banco De Oro (BDO) is a bank owned by the Sy family, renowned for being the one of the richest Filipino Chinese clans.  It has pursued expansion rather aggressively, so much so that there is a BDO bank everywhere you go – just as there is an SM Mall in almost every city in the country.

In October a friend of mine tried to withdraw P7,500 from her Union Bank ATM account through a BDO ATM machine, something which is made possible because of the interconnection of various ATM networks. 

Being a thrifty single mother, she normally withdraws from a Union Bank ATM near her office  in Libis to avoid the inter-ATM network charges.  On that day, however, she was in a bit of a hurry and she decided to just use her ATM card at a BDO ATM in SM Fairview which is near her home. It was her birthday the next day and on top of that, she also needed to pay an installment for her kid’s tuition.

She went through the usual routine of withdrawing from an ATM machine.  However, the machine did not dispense any money and it issued a notification that the TRANSACTION FAILED.  No money was dispensed. 

She tried making another transaction on another BDO ATM machine, this time to inquire about the balance of her account, and she was shocked to find out that the money she was trying to withdraw was already taken away from her balance.

Needing the money badly, she immediately made a complaint.  Even though the BDO bank was nearly empty at that time, none of the tellers attended to her and only gave her attention after making her wait for over 30 minutes.  At the end of the long wait, all the tellers could say was that she had to e-mail them a complaint.

E-mail she did and both banks came back with the reply that essentially said that their ATMs DID dispense the money she was trying to withdraw.


If it happened to my friend, I am pretty sure it has happened to many others.  So, through this blog, I’d like to reach out to others who may have experience this sort of thing and perhaps make Union Bank and BDO account for their flawed ATM networks.