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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...]

08/07/15 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...]

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...]

28/06/13 Finland: New legislation strives to promote consumer equality

The Finnish Ministry of Justice is drafting a reform of the Non-Discrimination Act. In her statement to the Ministry, the Finnish Consumer Ombudsman said that the proposed extension in the scope of application of the Non-Discrimination Act promotes the implementation of consumers' basic rights and strengthens their position. The reform will make possible more extensive... [more...]

08/05/13 Bank accounts: EU Payment Account Directive proposed where self-regulation failed.

The EC has announced its Proposal for a Directive on Payment Accounts today.  This is the first legislative measure dedicated directly at consumers (rather than indirectly by regulating other parts of banking and the financial system). In a national protectionist environment, this Directive aims to also promote the EU internal single banking market (across borders). The... [more...]

04/07/12 Parliament votes to back a right to a bank account: EU self-regulation has not delivered and will be replaced by law

Basic banking services must be available to all Plenary Session Economic and monetary affairs 04-07-2012 Basic banking services should be a legal right for the 10% of EU citizens who currently do not have any, including homeless people, those on very low incomes, students, people with no credit record and expatriate workers, Parliament said on Wednesday. MEPs called on... [more...]

28/03/12 EU Bank accounts – Another Consultation on bank accounts has been launched. This consultation follows on from the previous 2 consultations on the basic bank account which is subject to...

Consultation on Bank accounts 20.3.2012: Consultation on Bank accounts, deadline: 12.6.2012, Midday Express, MEX/12/0320 Objective of the consultation The purpose of this consultation is to gather stakeholders’ views on the need for action and on the possible measures to be taken in relation to the issues of transparency and comparability of bank account fees, bank... [more...]

13/02/12 Basic bank account: EUFFI opinion at the IMCO Hearing says full participation in modern society requires universal access to the necessary financial services.

Last month, the IMCO Committee held a hearing on an EU Basic Bank account and discussions focused on the EC Reccomendation on basic payment account. One of the Speakers, alongside others such as Prof Reifner (iff and ECRC), see previous note, was Jim Murray, President European Foundation for Financial Inclusion (former BEUC Managing Director). His intervention delivered... [more...]

25/01/12 EU HEARING: Universal access to a basic payment account

The Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO), European Parliament has held an additional hearing on the basic bank account following hearings by both the IMCO and ECON hearings from last year. Prof. Reifner from ECRC partner iff contributed to the debate on EU basic banking legislation with a presentation and paper on the role of overindebtedness... [more...]

26/10/11 New report: Irish lessons from EU better practice “Understanding and Combating Financial Exclusion and Overindebtedness in Ireland”.

ECRC supporter Dr Georges Gloukoviezoff, is an excellent economist and specialist researcher in issues of financial exclusion. He continues to make a large contribution to the debate on responsible credit with a recent publication from Dublin’s Trinity College Policy Institute for the Irish Government.   Book outline: “Unlike the UK, France and Belgium, Ireland has not... [more...]

02/02/11 Unbanked targets of credit cards: Study in Brazil by coalition partner IDEC shows that of the 40% of Brazilians without a bank account many are using store credit-cards that charge...

Brazil: 'bank accountless' cornered into expensive credit cards 17 Jan 2011 A new study shows that nearly 40% of Brazilians do not have bank accounts. Without any alternative, consumers use store credit-cards that charge higher interest rates. Bank accountless Although the number of bank accounts in Brazil nearly doubled between the years 2000 and 2008, the number of... [more...]

26/10/10 Financial Inclusion – access to what? The target is laudable but the microfinance industry still needs to put its house in order, control for ethical behaviour, and shift greater...

At the Pittsburgh Summit in 2010, the G-20 said it would create the Financial Inclusion Experts Group (FIEG) to expand access to financial services, including credit, to the poor. Nothing has happened so far and ACCION a leading microfinance specialist suggests its definition of financial inclusion to bring the debate forward. While there may be a growing consensus on the... [more...]

15/10/10 Basic bank accounts - The EU Commission consults on a bank duty to ensure access to an account for all.

EU consultation on possible duty to ensure access to basic bank accounts Comments on the Commission's document due before 17th November. A proposal expected by February 2011. ECRC partners have already contributed to the broad consultation on this issue carried out in 2009, but are once again sollicited to give their views. The European Commission has issued a Consultation... [more...]

16/08/10 Payday loans: A report by Consumer Focus shows growing phenomena in the UK and highlights need to improve the safety of payday loans, to address the problems associated with payday...

Number of payday loan users has quadrupled The number of people taking out expensive payday loans has quadrupled over the last four years, a new report by Consumer Focus highlights. Consumer Focus is warning that banks need to offer affordable short-term loans as alternatives, as well as recommending stronger safeguards to protect consumers from spiralling payday loan... [more...]

15/07/10 UK - Bankrupts denied access to basic bank accounts

Bankrupts denied access to basic bank accounts A report by Citizen’s Advice details how an increasing number of bankrupt people are being ‘wrongly denied’ access to a basic bank account, with only two (Barclays and the Cooperative Bank) out of seventeen banks that provide basic, no-credit bank accounts, offering services to this group. The report criticises banks for... [more...]

30/06/10 Financial Exclusion - UK Report suggests local governments have a role to play to alleviate financial exclusion

Councils benefit from financial inclusion A new report from the LGA sets out a strong case for local authorities to support financial inclusion activity. ‘From Recession to Recovery: The importance of personal finances’, uses a collection of case studies to show how financial inclusion services have had a hugely positive impact on peoples’ economic and emotional wellbeing... [more...]

01/03/10 Mobile banking - A focus on bringing financial services to the unbanked in emerging markets

Capturing the promise of mobile banking in emerging markets Very poor people in emerging economies not only have a surprising degree of interest in financial services but also, when possible, use them enthusiastically. McKinsey Quarterly: FEBRUARY 2010, Christopher P. Beshouri and Jon Gravråk, Source: Telecommunications Practice Exhibit 1: Less than 10 percent of unbanked... [more...]

26/10/09 Conference – Event on Mutual Learning and Financial Inclusion will take place in Brussels next week.

Dear Madam, Dear Sir, This is a reminder for the MuLFI Final Conference. Please find enclosed the invitation for the European Conference on Mutual Learning and Financial Inclusion. This conference will take place in Brussels, on November 05-06, 2009. In order to optimize the organisation of this event, please register following the instructions inside the program. You... [more...]

08/10/09 Obama fights for an independent Consumer Protection Agency on Financial Services. In Europe instead the Slogan Safety first puts Soundness and Consumer Protection on second rank. We... For a comment in German see German page on or click from sister websites The Consumer Financial Protection Agency – a key to safe and sound access to credit by Gregory D. Squires Of the many factors that have made the United States the world’s premier capital marketplace for 80... [more...]

28/02/09 BASIC BANK ACCOUNT: To ensure financial inclusion, the European Commission has launched a public consultation on ensuring access to a basic bank account. Coalition partners have until 6...

On Friday 6 February, the European Commission launched a public consultation on "Financial inclusion: Ensuring access to a basic bank account". This initiative is a follow-up to the 'Single Market for 21st Century Europe' package, in which the European Commission had highlighted the need to ensure that nobody is denied access to a basic bank account. The recent DG EMPL... [more...]

31/10/08 MICROLENDING IN EU: Providing services to those excluded from the financial system.

By Babel Strasbourg on Thursday, October 30 2008 (14 September 2008) By Vincent Lebrou , Translated by Rob Compton Small loans, or so-called microcredits, are increasingly being used in the fight against poverty and exclusion. Whether considering the situation in countries of the former Eastern bloc or Western European countries, it is clear that microcredit is... [more...]

31/10/08 NEW LENDING RULES IN ROMANIA - Risk of exclusion for self-employed

PENSIONERS AND MANAGERS, FIRST VICTIMS OF NEW CREDITING RULES Romanians drawing income from rentals, pensions, copyrights, management, agency or administration contracts will be the ones who will have a harder time taking out loans following the implementation of the new crediting norms drawn up by the National Bank of Romania (BNR), Credit Zone reports in a press... [more...]

31/10/08 FINANCIAL INCLUSION - Right to a bank account and ECDN launch of a European Action Day on Financial Inclusion from 2009 onwards

ecdn Press release, 31st of October 2008 FINANCIAL CRISES: BASIC BANKING SERVICES NEED TO BE GUARANTEED EUROPEAN CONSUMER DEBT NETWORK CALLS FOR EUROPEAN ACTION DAY ON FINANCIAL INCLUSION AND FOR THE RIGHT TO A BANK ACCOUNT While banks have been very inventive in introducing complex financial products that contributed to the current economic crises, the majority of them... [more...]

29/05/08 FINANCIAL EXCLUSION REPORT – ECRC member Réseau Financement Alternatif has together with his consortium presented their report on financial exclusion in Europe.

Almost half of citizens in the new EU member states have no bank account says the European Commission-funded report published yesterday. Should there be a right for all citizens to access basic financial services?. The credit crunch crisis has placed financial education and inclusion higher on the EU political agenda. ECRC wants to make sure responsible credit is also... [more...]

06/05/08 UPCOMING CONFERENCES: Though your attention should be primarily directed to attending our 2008 international ECRC responsible credit conference in London in November, a few other...

Below is a list of upcoming conferences: One on Financial Inclusion, one on Microfinance, and one on Ethics in finance ------------ "FINANCIAL INCLUSION: IMPROVING ACCESS TO BASIC FINANCIAL SERVICES" Dear Madam/Sir, We are pleased to invite you to a high-level conference organised by the European Commission on "Financial inclusion: improving access to basic... [more...]

24/10/07 Opinion Credit and social exclusion in an affluent society

1. Conclusions and recommendations 1.1 In the absence of any Community guidance in this area, the various Member States have developed their own national legal Systems for preventing individuals and families from falling into over-indebtedness, processing the cases of those who do, helping them get out of debt and providing them with support. l .2 Faced with the... [more...]

15/09/07 BRUSSELS 2007! Plenary 5: "Do we need Public (Interest) Banks? Which types of banks can best serve the community: Private, Public or Cooperative Banks?" - OUTLINE

P5: WHICH TYPES OF BANKS CAN BEST SERVE THE COMMUNITY: PRIVATE, PUBLIC OR COOPERATIVE BANKS? Harro Norder (NVVK, Netherlands, Chair); Maryellen Lewis (NCRC); Bob Schmitz (ULC, Luxemburg); Anja Peltonen (kuluttajavirasto, Finland); Benoit Granger (MicFin, France); Judith Wittig (Deutsche Bank); Norma Benoni (Cassa Rurali Trentine); Karol Sachs (FEBEA) (On Saturday... [more...]

14/09/07 BRUSSELS 2007! Plenary 5: "Do we need Public (Interest) Banks? Which types of banks can best serve the community: Private, Public or Cooperative Banks?" - STATEMENTS

P5: WHICH TYPES OF BANKS CAN BEST SERVE THE COMMUNITY: PRIVATE, PUBLIC OR COOPERATIVE BANKS? STatements from Davida Lachmann-Messer (Government, Israel);Anja Peltonen (kuluttajavirasto, Finland); Norma Benoni (Cassa Rurali Trentine) [more...]

26/07/07 NCRC on Credit Discrimination: Income is No Shield Against Racial Differences in Lending: A Comparison of High-Cost Lending in America’s Metropolitan Areas

NCRC our Partner in the US published a Study on the two Faces of Racial Discrimination in Lending: ACESS and PRICE DISCRIMINATION. EXCECUTIVE SUMMARY A looming foreclosure crisis confronts America as lending institutions have engaged in new forms of dangerous high-cost lending. Most of the high-cost or subprime lending made in recent years feature adjustable rate... [more...]

27/06/07 Credit and Social Exclusion at the European Economic and Social Committee EESC HEARING: Draft Paper of the EESC and Discussion Paper by Rapporteurs and ECRC supporters.

CREDIT AND SOCIAL EXCLUSION IN AN AFFLUENT SOCIETY (English et Francais) Preliminary Draft Opinion of the Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship on Credit and social exclusion in an affluent society (own initiative opinion)(Brussels, 1st June 2007 – SOC/265 – rapporteur: Pegado Liz) Hearing “Credit and Social Exclusion” (25th June 2007 – European... [more...]

01/02/07 USURY CEILINGS IN FRANCE - Deregulation had positive effects, says the Bank of France. But are Bankers’ Responses sufficient to inform the Parliament? ECRC asks for French social...

In response to a recent report by the French Central Bank on alleged outcomes for SME's as a result of lowering usury ceilings, we encourage experts to give ECRC (and the French Parliament) their opinion on this research, including experiences from outside of France. USURY CEILINGS IN FRANCE In France usury ceilings limit the interest banks can charge to consumers and... [more...]

22/01/07 RESPONSIBLE CREDIT – The latest Dutch legislative efforts to improve domestic credit markets could be interesting for some of the other European countries to emulate

ECRC’s founding Dutch member Harro Norder from NVVK (Dutch council of municipal banks) shares with us the latest initiatives he and his bank have led in their efforts to make Dutch credit markets more socially responsible. LIMITED INTEREST RATES Over-indebtedness is strongly related to small loans with high interest rates. Financing cars, home video sets and so one are... [more...]

18/12/06 UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES; Forgotten man / KE

source: Brand Strategy Maeve Hosea discusses the challenges facing global brands marketing in developing communities and asks how companies can provide and support this vast group of underserved consumers Pierre Baptiste takes a sip of beer and a mouthful of fried green plantain while he moves to the hard-grooving, voodoo-influenced Haitian drum patterns of the... [more...]

18/12/06 BANK TRANSPARENCY & EXCLUSION – Voluntary disclosure of bank lending patterns in the UK has been disappointing, a regulatory alternative may be better suited to help meet the UK’s...

A recent report by one of ECRC’s many supporting organisations nef (new economics foundation) will reinvigorate the debate on bank disclosure in the UK and help create a better understanding of why it should be demanded of banks. In a country like the UK where income disparities and social vulnerabilities are significant, a focus on improving the publicly available... [more...]

17/12/06 UK CONSUMER PROTECTION – As the nation bestows its long-term competitive advantage on the innovation of its citizens and consumers, how about protecting the ones your economy is relying on!

Below is an article from the FT which gives further argument as to why the UK consumers deserve better laws and more balanced credit relations. If the nation is going to promote innovation that is driven and created by consumers, should regulations not also assist citizen innovation by providing safety to those that sometimes fall victim of unplanned events? As consumers... [more...]

15/12/06 Country post offices provide a vital service In recent weeks my post bag has been filled with letters about the future of the rural post office network. / GB

source: The Gloucester Citizen There are 8,000 rural branches in the 14,500-branch post office network. Almost all, 6,000, are understood to be losing money and the whole network loses £ 2 million a week. These loss-making branches are subsidised by the Government's annual £ 150 million Social Network Payment. Despite the losses they are making, many sub-post offices... [more...]

15/12/06 Extend banking Greater access to financial services will improve SA's savings rate, reduce poverty and support social cohesion by extending the freedom to transact / ZA

source: Financial Mail Despite a developed-world banking system, a large proportion of South Africans don't have access to bank services. This makes it difficult to save, especially with the high crime rates. Fortunately, progress is being made. The percentage of people banked increased to just over half of the adult population in 2006 - a significant and positive... [more...]

13/12/06 FINANCIAL INCLUSION – Weighing the undeniable benefits of free cash machines for the poor, against potentially costly penalty charges and extortionate lenders around the corner.

Although praise should be given to the UK's providers of banking services following their positive response to the nation’s general treatment of its poorer consumers, free access to cash machines will not however compensate the UK authorities’ lack of action in reducing the vulnerability of these same customers at the hands of extortionate lenders. Nor will it feel like... [more...]

03/12/06 SOUTH AFRICA - How will the new National Credit Act in June 2007 affect SA’s consumer credit market and those person’s outside the mainstream banking sector?

WHY SA’S CREDIT APPETITE SHOULD NOT BE BANK’S BIGGEST CONCERN AHEAD of this year’s final meeting of the Reserve Bank’s monetary policy committee tomorrow, we’ve heard a great deal about consumers’ seemingly endless appetite for credit — and how the bank will have to keep hiking interest rates to purge the horrible habit. It is worth a quiet, but emphatic, reminder that... [more...]

01/12/06 What Innovation Will Follow Cellphone Banking? Banking has entered a new era with the introduction of CellPhone Banking, which was launched yesterday in Windhoek. / NA

source: New Era Bank Windhoek clients with Cheque, EasySave or Transaction accounts, who have mobile telephones can register to access the service through which one can pay their bills, transfer money to family and friends, enquire about their balances, get a mini statement and top up airtime wherever there is MTC network. The new initiative was developed by Bank... [more...]


Source: American Banker In banking, as in most services, the competition for customers is largely a zero-sum game, so it's rare for the growth of a new bank to come at relatively little cost to its rivals. But in and around Atlanta, that's exactly what is happening as the 12-branch El Banco de Nuestra Comunidad expands in the city's community of Latino immigrants by... [more...]

01/12/06 Citi plans thumbprint ATMs for India poor /IN

source: Citigroup is rolling out a network of biometric automatic cash machines aimed at illiterate Indian slum dwellers,using the latest technology to woo the country's millions of "unbanked" poor. The machines will recognise account holders' thumbprints, eliminating the need for a personal identificationnumber, and will have colour-coded screen instructions and... [more...]

30/11/06 "Jedermann braucht ein Girokonto"; Druck auf die Kreditwirtschaft wächst - Selbstverpflichtung soll Institute binden - Anhörung im Bundestag

source: Börsen-Zeitung Der politische Druck auf die Kreditwirtschaft zum Angebot eines "Girokontos für jedermann" steigt. Aus der CDU/CSU-Fraktion, die bislang die Selbstverpflichtung der Banken und Sparkassen zur Führung eines Kontos auf Guthabenbasis gegen Forderungen nach einer gesetzlichen Regelung unterstützt hat, kommen zunehmend kritischere Stimmen. Die... [more...]

26/11/06 THE FUTURE IS NOW For a glimpse of how managing your money is likely to evolve, just peek at experiments under way. Here's a sampling of recent pilot programs and ventures -- many of...

source: San Jose Mercury News Charge it with your cell phone Rather than swipe a debit or credit card, Atlanta Hawks season ticket-holders waved Nokia cell phones equipped with near-field communication (NFC) chips an inch from a reader to pay for hot dogs, soda and other concessions in a 2005 test by Visa USA of Redwood City. In October, MasterCard Worldwide and... [more...]

26/11/06 Latinos' credit is focus of study / US

source: The San Diego Union-Tribune LAS VEGAS -- A share of an estimated $200 billion in mortgages is up for grabs for any lender who can safely evaluate the nontraditional credit habits of Hispanic families hoping to own a home, according to a group of Latino housing professionals. The thousands of Hispanics who have achieved their ownership goals have done so largely... [more...]

25/11/06 Farepak donors would be better fixing the causes Banks should work with government to help the financially excluded /GB

source: The Scotsman BARELY a day goes by without news of another financial institution making a donation to the Farepak Response Fund - now an official charity. It is devastating for the families who put their savings for Christmas into the Farepak scheme before its high-profile collapse - in which GBP 40 million of people's money vanished. But is giving a bit of money... [more...]

03/11/06 South Africa: Lobby wants free banking for poor

THE Financial Sector Campaign Coalition has called for free banking services for the poor, saying the fees and interest charged by banks are "punitive, exploitative and unjust". Appearing before the banking inquiry yesterday, coalition representative Jan Mahlangu, who is retirement funds co-ordinator at trade union federation the Congrees of South African Trade Unions,... [more...]

21/10/06 Millions still like to pay bills in cash over the counter

MILLIONS of people are still paying bills in cash through the post office, despite the Government's insistence that this facility is no longer necessary. All Pay, one of the networks that handle post office bill payment, said that the number of people paying council tax, parking fines and other household bills through the post office had remained steady in the past five... [more...]

18/10/06 MasterCard adds gold prepay card MasterCard is launching a prepay card designed to reduce the downmarket image associated with the sector.

Cashplus Gold, the UK's first gold-coloured prepay card, has a higher maximum load limit to attract more 'mainstream' consumers. It aims to reduce the embarrassment of using a financial-services product associated with what the banking sector refers to as 'the un-banked' - consumers who cannot get bank accounts. Designed by PWLC, the card will be aimed at consumers... [more...]

08/10/06 'Basic' accounts Dwindling ranks of the 'unbanked' More than one million "basic bank accounts" have been opened since April 2003, it emerged last week

"We have passed a milestone in our commitment to the goal of halving the number of adults in households without a bank account by November 2006," said Ian Mulen, chief executive of the British Bankers'Association. Basic accounts are designed for those on very low incomes as wel as the "unbanked"-those who would rather keep their cash under the mattress than in a financial... [more...]


Created: 30/11/06. Last changed: 17/02/09.
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