THE Regional Trial Court of Batangas City has convicted the owner of a money changer for operating without securing a license from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), for which the operator pleaded guilty.

Vility Foreign Exchange Services (Vility) was convicted for violating the Manual of Regulations for Non-Bank Financial Institutions of the BSP as punishable under Republic Act No. 7653 or The New Central Bank Act.

“Based on the charge filed by the BSP, the court found accused Lilian N. Almazan, owner and operator of Vility, guilty beyond reasonable doubt for operating a money-changing service without securing the required Certificate of Registration from the BSP prior to its operations,” the central bank said in a statement.

The owner pleaded guilty as charged and was fined P50,000.

“The BSP protects the interest of the general public by ensuring that its supervised financial institutions are strictly compliant with banking laws and regulations,” the central bank added.

Vility Foreign Exchange Services was earlier barred from registering with the central bank in April 2022. It was based in 111 Evangelista Street corner P. Zamora Street, Poblacion 016, Batangas City.

Money service businesses (MSB) include remittance agents and sub-agents, remittance platform providers, electronic or e-money issuers, as well as money changers or foreign exchange dealers.

Latest BSP data showed there are 7,584 registered MSBs operating in the country.

These firms are seen to serve as financial service access points for unserved and underserved areas.

About 47.8% of MSBs are engaged solely in remittance transfer business, while 38.7% offer remittance, money changing, and foreign exchange dealings. — K.B. Ta-asan