Banks & Consumers
'... reflection should progress on how to ensure that, by a certain date nobody is denied access to a basic bank account.'
The EBF has been supporting the Commission’s ambitions although it considers that the issue of financial inclusion is best dealt with at national level.
The EBF has actively contributed to the formulation of the EBIC Common Principles for Switching of Bank Accounts. The Common Principles, designed to facilitate the process for the consumer to switch his bank account to another bank, will not only reduce the cost for the consumer, but also allow the consumer to deal with only one contact point.
Further, the self-regulatory initiative from the European Banking sector underlines its commitment to promote a competitive environment.
Related links: EBIC principles on bank account switching
Talks about introducing a collective redress mechanism at EU level have been undertaken from different perspectives at the Commission. The EBF urges the EU Institutions to avoid overlapping and inconsistent legislation but rather seek the most efficient and satisfactory way to address consumers’ complaints.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
National out-of-court settlement procedures in the financial sector have proved efficient and cost-effective, and are perceived as a flexible tool which meets consumers needs. The benefits of national schemes have been increased by the introduction of FIN-NET (see below). The EBF is supportive of FIN-NET and is committed to strengthen the coverage of the system and awareness of consumers.
Related link: FIN-NET – a financial dispute resolution network of national out-of-court complaint schemes, responsible for handling disputes between consumers and financial services providers, and providing easy access for consumers in cross-border cases.
– the ongoing work streams in the area of Mortgage Credits have recently been discussed from the angle of ‘responsible lending and borrowing’. Whilst this field is actively being monitored by the EBF, attention should be drawn to the existing EBIC - Code of Conduct for Home Loans from 2002, which introduced the ESIS- European Standardized Information Sheet. The ESIS has just been submitted to a comprehensive consumer testing, the results of which have provided material for reflection in view of its update.
Related link: EBIC – recent progress report for the Voluntary Code on Home loans
– with the implementation of the revised Consumer Credit Directive the opportunity to ensure more harmonization across Europe in the area of consumer credit has arisen. The directive does however fall short of fully harmonizing a number of areas, leaving a considerable margin to member states discretion. The EBF, through its national member associations, is monitoring the implementation process, whilst continuing the dialogue with the Commission Services.