BPI v Casa Montessori Internationale; G.R. No. 149454; 28 May 2004; 430 SCRA 261

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Plaintiff discovered that nine of its checks had been encashed by a certain Sonny D. Santos which turned out to be a fictitious name used by plaintiff’s external auditor. Said auditor voluntarily admitted to have forged the signature of one of plaintiff’s authorized signatories for its current account with defendant bank.

Whether or not defendant bank was negligent.

YES. Since the banking business is impressed with public interest, of paramount importance thereto is the trust and confidence of the public in general. Consequently, the highest degree of diligence is expected, and high standards of integrity and performance are even required, of it. By the nature of its functions, a bank is “under obligation to treat the accounts of its depositors with meticulous care, always having in mind the fiduciary nature of their relationship.” A bank is “bound to know the signatures of its customers; and if it pays a forged check, it must be considered as making the payment out of its own funds, and cannot ordinarily charge the amount so paid to the account of the depositor whose name was forged.”

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