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19/07/17 Consumer Law, Droit de la Consom-mation, Verbraucherschutzrecht – Joker or Concept?

Summary The dominating “Consumer law” has different appearance. While in English and partly in German it refers solely to the person (consumer, Verbraucher) in French it is denominated as “the law of consumption” (droit de la consummation) while the German legal culture refers to it mostly as “consumer protection law” (Verbraucherschutzrecht) which is focused on the need... [more...]

07/06/17 EP In-Depth Analysis - The Impact on SMEs of the Proposal of Preventive Restructuring, Second Chance and Improvement Measures

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee. It looks at the effects the recent Commission proposal might have both on micro and small and medium-sized enterprise, thus reflecting the diversity of SMEs. It identifies and explains the issues at stake of... [more...]

07/06/17 UK CfRc newsletter: Politics needs to address Britain's emerging Consumer Credit Debt crisis

This briefing draws upon the latest data from the UK Economic Accounts released by the Office for National Statistics on 31st March 2017 (covering the period up to December 2016) and from the Bank of England’s NMG Consulting survey (‘the NMG survey’) to provide information about the level and distribution of the household consumer credit debt burden. It provides evidence... [more...]

23/04/17 Parliament produces a 2 pager explaining the second Chance for Entrepreneurs

At a Glance - A SECOND CHANCE FOR ENTREPRENEURS - PE 583.141 - Committee on Legal Affairs There are still several Member States where a business cannot be restructured before it is insolvent. Important discrepancies have remained as to the duration of the discharge period. Such differences in Member States' legal frameworks mean continuing legal uncertainty. The proposal... [more...]

27/03/17 New Action Plan on Consumer Financial Services for Europe revealed

Last week, on 23 March 2017, the Commission published its Action Plan on Consumer Financial Services. It follows a consultation closed in March 2016 on its Green Paper on Retail Financial Services. The EU wants to build on its legislative initiatives (Payment Accounts Directive, Mortgage Credit Directive, Insurance Distribution Directive) and other action plans and... [more...]

25/03/17 Update of some EU, International and UK regulatory news from March 2017

EU EC: Consumer financial services action plan/FinTech: a more competitive and innovative European financial sector 23/03/2017: The EC has adopted an action plan which sets out ways in which European consumers can be provided with greater choice and better access to financial services across the EU. Specific areas considered include: reducing legal and regulatory... [more...]

14/03/17 #PoorPayMore … iff-letter for 2017

  Hamburg, February 2017 New Year Newsletter 2017 "#PoorPayMore … "   Friends of iff, Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, My best wishes for a Happy New Year for 2017, in which I am now, after continuous involvement since 1983, able to hand over all responsibility for iff to a younger generation. Looking back. On 30 June 1983, we held a press conference at the Hamburg... [more...]

01/03/17 OECD paper highlights "Behavioural Insights and Public Policy - Lessons from Around the World" and includes examples from the financial services area

“Behavioural insights”, or insights derived from the behavioural and social sciences, including decision making, psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, organisational and group behaviour, are being applied by governments with the aim of making public policies work better. As their use has become more widespread, however, questions are being raised about their... [more...]

20/02/17 UK annual responsible credit conference on 28.2.2017: Places available.

The UK Centre for Responsible Credit (‘CfRC’) is holding its annual conference ‘Building a financially healthy society’ in London on Tuesday 28th February. The programme for the event is available on-line here. Although CfRC cannot cover travel or accommodation costs, it is offering free places to members of the ECRC network. To take up a free place, please contact... [more...]

13/01/17 UK Financial Services Consumer Panel report and position paper on online investment services

Dated 16.12.2016, the UK Financial Services Consumer Panel published its report and position paper on online investment services. Background to the report: Concern with lack of transparency and consistency in online investment services, thus July 2016 commissioned Boring Money Ltd to investigate the consumer experience. Clarity of offer, cost and regulatory protection... [more...]

09/01/17 European Commission's FSUG publishes a report and its own position on Financial Guidance for European Consumers

In 2016, the iff was part of a research team lead by the Observatoire de l'Epargne Européenne (OEE) together with PFRC, Nibud and others which conducted a study into Financial Guidance for the European Commission’s Financial Services User Group (FSUG). The Commission has now published the report alongside the FSUG’s own position paper including its recommendations based on... [more...]

08/01/17 News from the European Consumer Debt Net: End 2016 Conference, news members and new coordinator

In 2016 The coordination of ECDN was taken over by Bulgarian partner Centre Innovation and Development. Since April 1st, 2016 ECDN has a new coordination office. The task of coordinating the different activities of ECDN will Centre Innovation and Development be fulfilled by the (CID) at the University of Economics-Varna (UEV).The CID was established in 2013 and is led by... [more...]

05/12/16 ESMA consults on draft guidelines on MiFID II product governance requirements until 5.1.2017

The iff and the ECRC network have stressed that products need to be of high quality if consumer protection is to be ensured. Payment protection insurance was a classic example of a product unfit for purpose, not only because it was missold via banks on a massive scale due to dangerous incentives but because of its product features as well as its disrespected target... [more...]

05/12/16 New rules on proportionality of banking regulation of remuneration proposed by the Commission following the iff-Study

On 23 November 2016, the European Commission issued a proposal for review of the CRD IV in which rules concerning remuneration of credit institutions and investment firms have been modified. While only a small part of the general proposed changes, the suggested changes to the application of remuneration provisions are in line with the findings and recommendations that the... [more...]

20/10/16 CfRC: Credit Notes - Updates 20th October

Risk of recession increases as household consumer credit debt burden hits 'danger level' The latest quarterly National Accounts data (released by the Office for National Statistics at the end of September) show a continued worsening of the household debt burden.  The household debt problem is now particularly... [more...]

20/10/16 The European Parliament calls for consumer-friendly single market in financial services

Here are two summaries about the latest European Parliament’s Economic Affairs Committee report which calls for a single market to emerge in retail financial services that delivers simple and transparent products for all consumers (from BEUC and the MEP Sven Giegold) European Parliament calls for consumer-friendly single market in financial services - BEUC STATEMENT -... [more...]

19/10/16 OECD findings on Financial Litearcy – Still a lot of work to do educating consumers… when will we see a study measuring improvement on financial responsibility of providers?

12-October-2016:  OECD/INFE International Survey of Adult Financial Literacy Competencies This report contains the results of an international data collection survey that measured the financial literacy and financial inclusion of adults. A total of 51,650 adults aged 18 to 79 from 30 countries and economies participated in the survey.   OECD financial literacy study... [more...]

17/10/16 The CSD IV grant programme to support civil society organisations in Turkey is helping the development of Consumer Rights and Empowerment

The iff led project running from February 2016 to February 2017 funded by the EU and Turkey through the CSD IV programme has just completed its second training course in Turkey. Held on the 8th and 9th of October 2016 in the City of Izmir, the training was a success and some photos have been taken. We thanks the trainers and the participants for their commitment and... [more...]

03/10/16 Better Finance 2016 report on EU pension returns

Below is the press release from Better Finance on their report. “Fees take a big bite out of real returns of EU long-term savings” Whereas the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) have a legal duty to collect, analyse and report data on “consumer trends” in their respective fields, the unfortunate reality is that long-term and pension savings remain one of the few... [more...]

01/10/16 Online portal for participating in EU legislative processes

Within the Better Regulation Agenda, the EU Commission has launched an online portal over the summer that enables everyone to follow and to contribute to EU legislative processes. The portal offers the possibility to track the law-making process following the different phases of the annual Commission work programme, though the roadmaps, impact assessment reports and... [more...]

11/08/16 UK Competition and Markets Authority orders banks to digitalise and begin "open banking" by early 2018 but misses a major opportunity to force them to change their behaviour as watchdog...

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), tells British banks that they must digitalise. The CMA has spent the past two years (and GBP 5bn) investigating the banking industry. Its final report of the market investigation into Retail Banking, published this week reveals plans and implementation dates in 2017 and 2018. In its report Making banks work harder for you,... [more...]

08/08/16 European Commission and Stakeholder Key principles for consumer comparison tools published

Key principles for comparison tools Consumers face an abundance of information online and thus rely on shortcuts such as comparison tools in their decision-making process. These can bring transparency to the markets and the possibility to compare products/services to find better deals are useful. However, transparency and trustworthiness of the service to consumers (and... [more...]

01/08/16 EIOPA consults on the presentation format of the Insurance Product Information Document

EIOPA published today a Consultation Paper on draft Implementing Technical Standards (ITS) standardising the presentation format of the Insurance Product Information Document (IPID). The IPID will be provided to the customer prior to the conclusion of a non-life insurance contract in accordance with the provisions of the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD). The purpose... [more...]

01/08/16 iff-Study and European Commission Assessment Review documents show that the Remuneration provisions of the CRD IV are making banks safer albeit with high costs for smaller less complex banks

On 28.7.2016, the European Commission released a report on the remuneration rules for banks and investment firms. It finds that the remuneration rules(inspired by the Principles for Sound Compensation Practices by the Financial Stability Board) are generally effective in curbing excessive risk-taking behaviour and short-termism (by impacting on the incentives for the... [more...]

15/07/16 Caritas Europe tries to de-mythify preconceptions of migration and economic development

10 myths about migration and development The debate about migration and development has always been a tough one. In Caritas Europa, we have always tried to make a link between the two, and to even tighten this link, as a clear sign of current times. But, like with any “hot topic”, it can be expected that a variety of opinions and ideas are voiced about the issue. In... [more...]

13/07/16 The FSUG publishes a paper on Big Data and financial services

Assessment of current and future impact of Big Data on Financial Services Introduction A common criticism about regulation is that it always lags behind innovations and is obsolete by the time it comes into law. This paper is an attempt at exploring potential future challenges brought about by Big Data on financial services and reflect on policies to ensure that consumers... [more...]

11/07/16 First Paper of the EU-Funded research project on “Integrating residential property with private pensions in the EU” is published.

Publication of first project paper The 7 partners of the iff led EU-funded project on equity release schemes (ERS) “Integrating residential property with private pensions in the EU” which is running until September 2017, have published their first paper as output of its first work-stream identifying the fundamental drivers for equity release. Pensions and Housing... [more...]

10/07/16 Research Team of the EU-funded project on Property and Pensions meets the European Pensions and Property Asset Release Group (EPPARG) presents and discusses aspects of the research.

Meeting and cooperation with the EPPARG On 7th of July 2016, the members of the European Pensions and Property Asset Release Group (EPPARG) organised a seminar in London in the offices of the JRP Group to which the research team led by iff was invited. It allowed the team to present their EU Grant project “Integrating residential property with private pensions in the EU”... [more...]

06/07/16 EIOPA advice on the development of the PEPP

EIOPA ADVISES ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN EU SINGLE MARKET FOR PERSONAL PENSION PRODUCTS The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) published today the final Advice on the further development of a single European Union market for personal pension products (PPPs). This Advice completes the European Commission’s Call for Advice on how the European... [more...]

04/07/16 Handbook on access to justice in Europe published

In partnership with the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has published a handbook which highlights and summarises the key principles in the area of access to justice, in particular those developed under Article 47 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (EUCFR) and Articles 6 and 13 of the European Convention on Human... [more...]

26/05/16 Ireland: Met-Life Foundation Inclusion Plus Ireland

Inclusion Plus is an Innovation Competition sponsored by Met-Life Foundation. Competitors are invited to submit a product, service, programme or innovation to improve financial health and well-being for people in Ireland and across Europe. The proposal should demonstrate that it will improve people’s access, adoption and usage of financial products and services. 15... [more...]

24/05/16 Improvement EU banking supervisory transparency absolute necessity in light of bail-in rules

PRESS RELEASE from Better Finance 24 May 2016 - A report by Bruegel on transparency in the European Banking Union, based on a survey carried out in 2013, has recently been revisited by its authors, analysing the most recent evolution in terms of banking supervisory transparency. The updated report concludes that financial supervisory data transparency at the EU level... [more...]

23/05/16 EU Insolvency Conference on 12 July 2016 (Registration still open) and Consultation (open until 14.6.2016)

Convergence of insolvency frameworks within the EU In the context of the 2015 Capital Markets Union Action plan and Internal Market Strategy, the European Commission is in the process of preparing a legislative initiative addressing certain aspects of substantive insolvency laws. This initiative will follow up on the Commission Recommendation of 2014 on a new approach on... [more...]

20/05/16 US: Opportunities and Challenges in Online Marketplace Lending

19/05/2016 US Department of the Treasury has published on 10th May 2016 its White paper on Online Marketplace Lending Industry (see link below) [more...]

17/05/16 Reasonable credit costs – update from Finnish ECRC partner the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority

Below is news from the latest newsletter.   Editorial: Towards reasonable credit costs There have been problems associated with payday loans that can be applied for via the internet or text message since they entered the market in 2005. The problems have been addressed by means of gradually making the law stricter. The 2013 amendment aimed at reducing and preventing... [more...]

13/05/16 Spanish mortgage borrowers celebrate landmark victory over 101 banks required to pay back fees to potentially 4 million mortages

Better Finance’s Spanish member organization ADICAE is celebrating the victory in the biggest class action ever in Spain, on behalf of 15.000 mortgage borrowers against 101 banks, as a Madrid commercial court considered that the fixed minimum rate mortgages in question lacked in transparency and declared them null and void, potentially applying the decision to 4 million... [more...]

12/05/16 Crowdfunding reports published by the FSUG and the European Commission

3 reports on crowdfunding published this month: European Commission report on Crowdfunding in the EU Capital Markets Union FSUG Position Paper on the Study on Crowdfunding from an Investor Perspective Study on Crowdfunding from an investor perspective – Final report by Oxera See links below. [more...]

02/05/16 Financial Education: OECD Publication on Financial Education in Europe

The April 2016 publication provides an overview of the recent trends and developments in financial education policies and programmes in Europe. It describes the status of national strategies for financial education and various financial education programmes targeting a variety of audiences and through a variety of delivery channels. Based on the analysis of these... [more...]

02/05/16 New CfRC Publication | Evaluating the Social Impact of Fair for You

The finances of many low income households are on a knife edge. Low pay, flexible working patterns, reducing state support, and the high cost of rent and other essentials make day to day budget management difficult and saving for the future incredibly so. For many households the breakdown of a washing machine, fridge or cooker is a major crisis. All too often the only... [more...]

13/04/16 iff-Newsletter 2016: ‘Does money rule the world?’

Friends of iff, Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, With best wishes from iff for a peaceful New Year in 2016.  1. Europe was, at the New Year, more split between rich and poor than ever before. After three years at an Italian university, I recognised the situation differs even in education. Teaching students into unemployment in the South coincides with open doors even... [more...]

01/04/16 OECD report on Consumer Protection in E-Commerce

Consumer protection laws need updating to improve trust in e-commerce 30/03/2016 - Countries should modernise their consumer protection laws to address new risks posed by online commerce, including “free” apps and peer-to-peer Internet transactions, according to new OECD guidelines for member countries and emerging economies. The OECD Recommendation on Consumer Protection... [more...]

29/03/16 Australia: ASIC Releases Guidance for P2P lending market. The information sheet is an example of how regulators can help innovative start-ups understand the regulatory framework they...

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) today announced the release of an information sheet, containing guidance and best practices to be followed by Australian peer-to-peer lenders. The regulator revealed that a number of marketplace lending entities were consulted in preparing the document. The information sheet describes what peer-to-peer lending is... [more...]

07/03/16 Better Finance says that robot investors carry real promises for savers and individual investors

A new research report by Better Finance 4 March 2016 - Alongside the traditional players of the finance world, there are now purely online services. Robot Advice has emerged in the United Sates a few years ago, and more recently in Europe. In short Robot Advisers are mostly only internet-based and use computer programs and algorithms that process the input provided by... [more...]

02/11/15 EIOPA consults on revised preparatory guidelines on product oversight and governance

The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) has published today a Consultation Paper on its revised proposal for preparatory Guidelines on product oversight and governance arrangements by insurance undertakings and insurance distributors (POG Guidelines). The scope of the preparatory Guidelines has been extended and, besides provisions dedicated to... [more...]

27/07/15 Bank disclosure and the Euro Crisis - a message from John Taylor, NCRC Washington D.C.

The European Crisis on Greek government bonds has puzzled the big audiences especially in Northern Europe. Many citizens bombarded by irresponsible tabloids assumed that their governments have lent enormous amount of money to Greece which these people are not willing to repay because they are either too lazy or too corrupt or just showing a mentality of irresponsible... [more...]

17/07/15 UN conference on Trade and Development Drafts new Principles on Consumer Protection especially in Financial Services

The UNCTAD has revised its consumer protection guidelines especially with regard to financial services that until now had been omitted. The USA has called this premature since OECD and G20 are working on the same issues. The Draft is based on a survey in 2014 of UNCTAD with member countries in which only a few have participated.   The new draft of the principles is in... [more...]

08/07/15 Recent research for Asian Development Bank shows gaps in financial inclusion, regulation, and education in Germany

iff Director of economics, Prof Doris Neuberger, has published a paper on financial inclusion in Germany. It should serve to give other countries examples of better practice, alternative policies and lessons for regulation of financial services. Below are the findings and reccomendations from the paper: Germany’s bank-based financial system provides a high level of... [more...]

25/06/15 EBA updates on consumer trends in 2015: A valuable Report that outlines the areas in which the EBA may take action going forward

The EBA published its annual Consumer Trends Report on 18 June 2015 Extract from press release: The European Banking Authority (EBA) published its fourth annual Consumer Trends Report. The report, which covers all the products that fall into the EBA’s consumer protection mandate, such as mortgages, personal loans, deposits, payment accounts, payment services and electronic... [more...]

25/06/15 The new European Insolvency Regulation published in June 2015

Regulation on Insolvency Proceedings (Recast) was published on June 5, 2015. The Regulation (EU) 2015/848 of the European Parliament and of the Council , of 20 May 2015, on insolvency proceedings (recast), has been published OJ L 141. On 20 May 2015 the European Parliament approved the new European Insolvency Regulation (EIR) in the text adopted by the Council at first... [more...]

19/06/15 Overindebtedness – Reports from Sweden quantify the cost to society of over-indebtedness and find that measures against it are not sufficient and that debt relief would be more...

Overindebtedness specialist and ECDN partner from Sweden Prof. Richard Ahlström shares two recent reports that he has worked on recently. The first one concerns the cost to society of over-indebtedness in Sweden. This report was published yesterday (16.6.2015) by the Swedish National Audit Office. In the first link below there is a summary in English. The Audit Office is... [more...]

11/06/15 iff and 5 EU partner universities have been awarded a 2-year EU grant to research private pensions linked to housing assets for the European Commission.

In Summer 2015, iff will start a research project on “Integrating residential property with private pensions in the EU” for the European Commission, DG Employment. In this research grant (under the programme “Promoting the contribution of private savings to pension adequacy”), iff together with University partners from 6 EU Member States (Germany, Hungary, Ireland,... [more...]

20/05/15 "Effective consumer and investor protection will need to be at the heart of the CMU” - EU Commissioner Hill speach at the Better Finance Conference

“Effective consumer and investor protection will need to be at the heart of the CMU” (EU Commissioner Hill at the Better Finance Conference on the CMU, 6 May 2015)   The Capital Markets Union is about attracting household savings to put them to work for the long term financing of the European economy. Brussels, 19 May 2015 – European companies have been struggling to... [more...]

11/05/15 The European Commission will hold its European Consumer Summit on 1 and 2 June 2015 and will discuss debt advice for consumers.

The ECRC is happy to see that DG JUST will have a seminar on Overindebtedness and debt advice to consumers at their European Consumer Summit on 1 and 2 June 2015. Discussed will be issues around the Digital Single Market and the Energy Union, and the importance of better implementation and enforcement of the law, especially in the digital environment, and the role of debt... [more...]

11/05/15 Conference - 3rd Joint ESAs Consumer Protection Day on June 3rd 2015 in Frankfurt

On the 3rd of June, The EBA, EIOPA and ESMA will hold their joint Consumer Protection Day which will focus on conduct risk, the next decade in finance, and the growing digitalisation of financial services.   (Attendance to this event is by invitation only. ​The registration has been closed). The Joint Committee of the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) is... [more...]

11/05/15 COFACE, the EU association representing the interests of EU families is holding a conference in Spain today on retail banking and alternative finance

COFACE Conference: Accessible and fair financial services – alternatives to mainstream banking 11-12 May | Madrid, Spain COFACE will host a conference on the theme of financial inclusion and the alternatives to mainstream banking on 11 & 12 May in Madrid. The conference will directly address some key issues about access to independent and quality information and essential... [more...]

11/05/15 EU user association Better Finance held a conference to discuss protection of retail investors in the EU Capital Markets Union - 6.5.2015 press release and briefing paper available

RETURN CAPITAL MARKETS TO THEIR NATURAL PARTICIPANTS Brussels, 06 May 2015 – Ever since the idea of a European Capital Markets Union (CMU) was revived in July 2014, there seems to be a consensus across the board that broadening and deepening EU Capital Markets - in order for these to complement the struggling and costly banking sector in the financing of the European... [more...]

11/05/15 International financial services conference 2015 – Over 200 attendees in Hamburg

Last week, on 7 and 8th of May 2015, Stakeholders met in Hamburg to discuss a range of issues in retail financial services. The annual event gathered over 200 participants and speakers and was a success. The ECRC supported this conference organised by iff together with the consumer centers and the German debt advice association. While the attendance was primarily from... [more...]

10/03/15 Open letter to the German Minister of Finance Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble concerning his treatment of Greece

Sehr geehrter Herr Minister, Honorable Minister,   As a German citizen I am concerned about the line taken with regard to the Greek debt crisis. It gives the impression that Germany can command the EU Commission and the ECB into hard debt collection activities. The cultural damage to the development of a democratic and multi-cultural Europe may be difficult to remedy.... [more...]

02/02/15 Why the election of Syriza offers hope for Europe’s indebted households

The election of Syriza in Greece has sent shock waves through the international establishment as a consequence of the new Government’s determined position to write off a significant proportion of the country’s debts and reschedule the remainder for payment according to the rate at which the economy grows. It is understandable that this challenge to the troika of the... [more...]

30/01/15 PPI: UK regulator says need for continued vigilance as it gathers evidence on PPI complaints process and warns of possible further PPI intervention

The Financial Conduct Authority is set to gather evidence on current trends in payment protection insurance complaints, warning that further interventions may be appropriate. The FCA will use this evidence to assess whether the current approach is meeting the objectives of securing appropriate protection for consumers and enhancing the integrity of the UK’s financial... [more...]

20/01/15 European Commission study on "Bankruptcy and second chance for honest bankrupt Entrepreneurs" has been published

The final report and summarised country reports are available here. Final report and Annex VI: summarised country reports A summary is copied below.   Study on ''Bankruptcy and second chance for honest bankrupt Entrepreneurs'' Published on: 03/12/2014 by the Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry The specific aims of this study are to look at: 1. the extent to... [more...]

20/01/15 Interest Rate Caps – 78 countries around the world have caps according to the latest stock taking report by the World Bank testifying the continued popularity and usefulness of price...

End 2014, the World Bank produced a report that presents the findings of its stock-taking exercise to determine the number of countries currently capping interest rates on loans. The last financial crisis has reopened the debate on interest rate controls as a tool for consumer protection and more and more authorities have decided it is a useful tool to add to their... [more...]

18/01/15 US housing crisis: Paper shows that poor people were not to blame for the housing crisis

Housing bubble and supply side factors are found to be the main reasons for the crisis. E.g. house price expectations led lenders and buyers to buy into an unfolding bubble based on inflated asset values. The paper finds that distribution of mortgage debt originated in 2002 and 2006 is concentrated in middle and high income borrowers, not the poor. Middle and high income... [more...]

13/01/15 Report presented today: Consultation on investment protection in EU-US trade talks

Strasbourg, 13 January 2015 Today, the European Commission published its analysis of the almost 150,000 replies to its online consultation on investment protection and investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The Commission asked the public for their views on a possible approach to protecting investments and... [more...]

12/01/15 The regional principle of savings banks causes costs by providing financial services to the ageing population in peripheral regions, but higher efficiency gains through safeguarding...

Alexander Conrad, Doris Neuberger and Lucinda Trigo Gamarra, The impact of regional economic conditions on the efficiency of savings banks in the light of demographic change, Credit and Capital Markets 47 (4), 2014, 533-570   Abstract This paper examines the influence of environmental factors on the... [more...]

12/01/15 Regionalprinzip der Sparkassen verursacht Kosten durch Versorgung der alternden Bevölkerung in peripheren Regionen, aber höhere Effizienzgewinne durch Sicherung des Wettbewerbs in...

Alexander Conrad, Doris Neuberger and Lucinda Trigo Gamarra, The impact of regional economic conditions on the efficiency of savings banks in the light of demographic change, Credit and Capital Markets 47 (4), 2014, 533-570 Der Einfluss regionalökonomischer Faktoren auf die Effizienz von Sparkassen ... [more...]

01/01/15 GIZ Publication on Financial Consumer Protection and Financial Education in Germany to help developing countries learn from the German experience

In 2014, a short study on „Financial Consumer Protection and Financial Education in Germany“ was prepared by iff staff on behalf of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. In the form of a booklet, the material summarises institutional aspects of the Consumer Protection framework that exists in Germany in the area of retail financial... [more...]

23/10/14 EU Retail financial services and consumer policy conference invites stakeholder views to help EU policy making on emerging challenges

This conference in Brussels on 18 November 2014 has been organised by the European Commission with input from the FSUG and is being held in the buildings of the EESC where civil society and the voice of the users of financial services will have a chance together with other stakeholders to discuss some key emerging challenges in retail financial services: Four prepared... [more...]

13/10/14 Bank supervisors get interested in responsible credit – FinCoNet publishes its report on responsible lending

A worldwide association of bank supervisors have published a report on responsible lending. The report covers European countries like Germany and France but not the UK and most of the other EU states. But it also covers also China, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, Australia and Uganda. The USA and South America do not show up. Although this is a quite arbitrary selection... [more...]

20/08/14 Over-indebtedness – The EU civil society draws up an opinion and calls for an Overindebtedness Observatory and a common working definition of over-indebtedness established at European level

In April 2014, the European Economic and Social Committee drew up an exploratory opinion on Consumer protection and appropriate treatment of over-indebtedness to prevent social exclusion. The links to the paper are available below. A short description of the EESC Calls and recommendations include the following: Calls for a common definition: The EESC is... [more...]

19/08/14 Overindebtedness - European conference on European Overindebtedness to discuss the DG SANCO Study – Date 12.12.2014, registration opens in September.

Organised in Brussels by ECDN, EFIN and the ​EESC on December 12th 2014 is a long awaited conference to discuss Overindebtedness in Europe. The main piece of the event is the discussion of the soon to be published 2012-2013 Study on Overindebtedness by DG SANCO. All the key stakeholders are expected to attend. The conference programme is being elaborated and the main... [more...]

21/07/14 Interest and Money – Usury and Anatocism – Some basic Q&A about Responsible Credit (to myself)

Have you ever considered a world without interest? Aristotle said interest is theft, in which case bankers must be criminals. Civil law refers to interest as the usus fructus of “money”, a “fruit” in the same way that the labour of the slave was his usus fructus and apples are the usus fructus of the tree. But ancient philosophers, the Christian church and Islam are... [more...]

16/07/14 1,270% APRC - the new UK usury rate ceiling?

In the UK consumers can still pay extortionate rates of interestwithout being able to blame the banks. So-called ‘payday loans’ in the UK are marketed as an alternative to more affordable overdraft credit.  They are extended to people who struggle  to make it to the end of the month and their next wages.  This liquidity problem is exploited by the banks. But the banks at... [more...]

07/07/14 OVERINDEBTEDNESS - Italian Scholar and partner of ECRC published a book in Italian.

Diana Cerini from the University of Milano Bicocca has published 521 pages about Overindebtedness and Consumer Bankruptcy: Between punishment and grace in Italian language with Giuffré Editore 2012. In this socio-legal study the author traces the history of modern concern with consumer overindebtedness, While she starts with the perception of overindebtedness the third... [more...]

15/06/14 Consumer capacity building – CI runs a useful e-learning course on consumer financial protection but lets the industry run the training.

Consumers International has a launched a programme on financial consumer protection (FCP) with E-learning units for its members and supporters.Consumer representatives and advocates need training in financial services and often the industry is relied upon to impart some of the know-how required to understand the markets, products and rules in order to better serve... [more...]

28/05/14 “APR-tool” – How the European Commission presents the assumed achievements of the Consumer Credit Directive 2008.

One of the arguments for Directive 2008/48/EC (CCD) was the appearance of a generally accepted interest rate for consumer credit in which the consumer can compare different offers on the market and also imagine the burden the credit puts onto his or her future. This goal, as found out in research by iff in its EU survey on insurance remuneration systems, has not been... [more...]

23/05/14 BRAZIL - Brazilian consumers win claim against banks - iff support on interest rate claims successful.

Brazilian consumer organisations have filed a multitude of claims against banks who withheld the contractually convened interest payments with the primary argument that that keeping to their contractual obligations towards Brazilian small savers would have caused them to have to file for bankruptcy. At the eights financial services conference in Hamburg the participants... [more...]

20/05/14 EU Consumer Credit law - Published assessments of two studies: One on legal choices of the CCD and another on the effect on the functioning of the European credit market. ECRC comment...

14.5.2014: EC publishes report on consumer credit agreements The document evaluates the transposition of the Consumer Credit directive (CCD) and its regulatory impact. The aim is to increase consumer protection. ECRC comment will be forthcoming. Here are the underlying studies that are the basis... [more...]

07/04/14 UK - ECRC Partner CfRC launches its second edition of Credit Notes (e-briefing service for 2014/15). Subscribe to stay informed

Welcome to Credit Notes | Issue 2 | Free trial continuing through to end of May   As well as producing Credit Notes, we shall shortly be publishing our first quarterly e-journal, The CfRC Credit Report, providing more in-depth articles from the Centre and external contributors. In addition, our subscribers and supporters also receive a 10% discount on delegate fees at... [more...]

07/04/14 UK - ECRC Partner CfRC launches its "Credit Notes" e-briefing service for 2014/15. Subscribe to stay informed

Welcome to Credit Notes Welcome to the first edition of Credit Notes, our new forthnightly e-briefing for CfRC subscribers for 2014.  Credit Notes is designed to provide you with a regular update on the latest policy developments alongside news and comment from the Centre.  The service is available to our annual subscribers through to 31st March 2015, and is being made... [more...]

20/03/14 Principles of Responsible Credit – Conference and booklet in Lithuania

ECRC representatives will attend a conference in the Lithuanian Parliament organised by Lithuanian ECRC partner LBCA. The Lithuanian Bank Customers Association has translated the ECRC principles into Lithuanian (the full version). This version has now been added to translations available of the principles on the ECRC website:... [more...]

10/03/14 Consumers International: Report identifies dimensions of responsible lending and makes Recommendations. Welcome report from the user side, but it makes no reference to our principles of...

We welcome this study but hope that Consumers International (CI) will seek to incorporate the insights of the ECRC coalition with its emphasis on responsible credit. Our principles also stress that all lenders should seek to ensure that borrowers can repay their debts without suffering hardship and that the financial service sold is appropriate to the borrower’s needs and... [more...]

07/03/14 IRELAND and ECRC: A major report from ECRC partner FLAC stresses the need for responsible credit. It says consumers need proper legal protections as the report on Consumers of financial...

IRELAND and ECRC: A major report from ECRC partner FLAC says consumers need proper legal protections as a Report on Consumers of financial services shows they are being badly let down by the system. ECRC partner from Ireland, Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) has produced a comprehensive report outlining how consumers are entitled to a high level of legal protection as a... [more...]

15/02/14 Conference: European Consumer Day 2014 organised by the EESC will take place in Greece on 14 March. Agenda available below

European Consumer Day "Consumer protection and social inclusion in times of crisis" 14 March 2014 City Hall of Thessaloniki, Greece   The 16th edition of the European Consumer Day will be held on 14 March 2014. This time on the agenda will be a very important topic – "Consumer protection and social inclusion in times of crisis".   Even in times of crisis consumers have... [more...]

13/02/14 Conference: ECRC partner from Lithuania organises an event to discuss responsible credit and responsible relationships between users and providers. All key national stakeholders will be...

International Conference Relationship between Banks and THEIR CLIENTs in the AFTERMATH OF THE FINANCIAL CRISIS 24 March 2014, Vilnius The Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania (Gedimino ave. 53, Building I – Constitution Hall), Vilnius   CONFERENCE ORGANIZERS: Lithuanian Bank Customers Association, Alliance of Lithuanian Consumer Organizations, Committee on Budget and... [more...]

13/02/14 Conference: Book a place now for the UK annual CfRC event “How should we respond to Britain’s Personal Debt Crisis?” on 11th March 2014 in Birmingham

The Centre for Responsible Credit's Annual Conference 2014 How should we respond to Britain's personal debt crisis? Britain is in the grip of a personal debt crisis.Growth, largely the product of a further up-swing in credit expansion, is becoming divorced from living standards.Wages are falling in real terms as the cost of rent; fuel; food, and transport continue to... [more...]

15/01/14 UK ECRC Partner CfRC seeks further support for its work and outlines its plans for the year ahead.

Help us to build a responsible financial system in 2014 2014 is set to be an exceptionally challenging year for the vast majority of British households. Many are still highly indebted and low on savings. Most are unlikely to see any increase in real wages. Food, fuel and transport costs continue to rise. Tenants... [more...]

01/01/14 Mitigating conflicts of interest: Large £28m fines in the UK are a warning that banks and other providers must check their remuneration schemes and control their sales incentives so...

The UK FCA has fined two leading UK banks for wrong incentive schemes that have led to thousands of consumers with wrong and inappropriate products. Below is the report from Consumers International on the subject. £28m Sales Incentives fine for big British banks 11 Dec 2013 Two leading UK banks, Lloyds TSB and Bank of Scotland (including the Halifax), have been fined... [more...]

06/12/13 Life Time Contracts: A group of law experts publish a book, declaration and their principles for contract law that takes social and economic realities into account.

A link to the working group’s blog is provided below as is a link to download a preview version of The EuSoCo Groups’ book on Life Time Contracts. The book will be available end January 2014. Life Time Contracts: After eight years of joint work, a group of law professors from three continents teaching contract law, international law, labour, consumer and tenancy law have... [more...]

05/12/13 LONG-TERM thinking: French report describes “l’économie positive”

“Positive economy” is basically more about reorientating growth towards investments and l-t. It integrates altruism into the economy, criticizes the invisible hand and focuses on the many imperfections of the market that lead to underutilisation of factors of production (unemployment). un rapport sur "l'économie positive", qui prône un "capitalisme patient", soucieux de... [more...]

02/12/13 Indebtedness: Report on the distribution of debt across Euro-Area shows need for further research on characteristics and situation of indebted households.

Abstract The aim of this paper is twofold. First, we present an up-to-date assessment of the differences across euro area countries in the distributions of various measures of debt conditional on household characteristics. We consider three different outcomes: the probability of holding debt, the amount of debt held and, in the case of secured debt, the interest rate paid... [more...]

01/12/13 Event: IACL consumer law conference in Santa Fe, USA - 30 & 31 May 2014. Call for papers

Message from ECRC partners and also members of the International Association of Consumer Law network about the upcoming IACL teaching consumer law conference in Santa Fe, USA - 30 & 31 May 2014.  Dear IACL members, Find below a call for papers for the upcoming conference organised by Professor Alderman in Santa Fe, New Mexico on 30 & 31 May 2014. Call for paper closes on... [more...]

28/11/13 News from our partner NCRC about the War on Poverty in financial services in the USA

Our partner in the USA the National Community Reinvestment Coalition with whom we intentionally share the abbreviation CRC (Coalition for Responsible Credit) defends the rights of especially poor people in the USA to have fair, responsible and equal access to financial services. It was once born out of misuse banks provided when redlining whole areas of cities in which... [more...]

26/11/13 The regulation of overdraft credit – Two different solutions: France versus Germany

While the French have decided to regulate the cost of overdraft credit, it looks as though the German coalition will not be imposing a ceiling on overdraft facilities as anticipated. While the SPD partner is still hoping to change this in its negotiations, the draft coalition contract does not foresee a cap to limit the at times very high prices for exceeded overdrafts in... [more...]

19/11/13 RESEARCH: ECRC partner iff and its research partners have been awarded a framework contract for expertise services to the European Parliament.

The iff joint consortium for the European Parliament framework contract on consumer protection has been successful. In a multiple framework tender, the iff bid for lot 2 of the Impact Assessment and European Added Value and has been awarded a framework contract. The exact number of awarded entities (potential future bidders) for this lot is not clear. Iff is one of 5... [more...]

11/11/13 IRELAND - Central Bank publishes Report on Licensed Moneylending Industry

The Central Bank of Ireland today (8 November 2013) publishes a report on the licensed moneylending industry in Ireland.  The research was undertaken to inform the regulatory approach to the licensed moneylending industry in Ireland and to see how the firms are treating their customers. The licensed moneylender sector has not changed significantly since the Central Bank... [more...]

06/11/13 ESMA and EBA consult on complaints handling guidelines for the investment and banking sectors

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and the European Banking Authority (EBA) have jointly launched a consultation on guidelines for complaints handling in the securities and banking sectors. The proposed Guidelines will build on the existing guidelines on complaints handling by insurance undertakings published by the European Insurance and Occupational... [more...]

01/11/13 GREECE: PETITION - Overindebted households need more flexible treatment from creditors, sign the petition calling for responsible credit via debt adjustment.

Greek ECRC partner EKPIZO has started a petition on for fairer treatment of indebted households and forbearance on unsustainable mortgage repayments. In summary, this petition has to do with their effort to: 1. Prevent bank foreclosure auctions on the property of over-indebted Greeks (natural persons and professionals) 2. Suspend auctions on foreclosed... [more...]

20/10/13 ECRC conference 2014 in Hamburg / News from our partners

After the summer break and the busy year so far for partners of our responsible credit coalition, there are still many developments worth reporting on and sharing views and exchanging on. We encourage our partners to organise the necessary events to gather stakeholders locally, nationally, regionally or internationally in order to continuously challenge existing solutions... [more...]

17/10/13 UK: Charter against irresponsible payday lenders

Church Action on Poverty have launched a charter with a call for tougher regulation and enforcement in relation to payday lenders. The charter is a reaction to the financial conduct authority's (FCA) proposals for regulation, that are not considered as reaching far enough by several cross-party MPs and “some of Britain’s biggest debt, consumer and anti-poverty... [more...]


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