Press Release

Worldwide consumer movement demands G20 leaders address the issue of financial protection for consumers

21 Oct 2010

Consumers International (CI)[i], is calling on G20 finance ministers, who meet in South Korea, Friday 22 October, and world leaders, who meet on 11 November, to make a real commitment to protecting their citizens from financial services industry practices which are not in the best interest of the consumer.

CI urgently wants to see the establishment of an Experts Group on Consumer Financial Protection which would help to ensure that consumers from both developed and developing nations have access to stable, fair and competitive financial services.

Justin Macmullan, Head of Campaigns at CI said: "Consumers have had to put up with abusive practices from the financial services industry for too long and the global recession is making matters worse.  Each year, the global economy creates up to 150 million new consumers of financial services, most of whom are in countries where consumer protection and financial literacy are still in their infancy.

"At the G20 summit in Pittsburgh in 2009, world leaders made a commitment to 'protect consumers, depositors and investors against abusive practices and promote high quality standards'.  Now it is time for them to turn their words in to action.  Getting this right is not only vital to consumers, but also to the ongoing stability of the world economy."

CI wants the Experts Group on Consumer Financial Protection to create and recommend adoption by national governments of minimum standards relating to:

  • Fair contract terms and charges for financial products and services
  • Information design and disclosure on financial products
  • The governance and functions of national financial consumer protection bodies.

 

It should also make recommendations for:

  • The promotion of effective competition in markets for financial consumer services
  • The development of a permanent organisation for international standard setting and co-ordination with regard to financial consumer protection.

Justin Macmullan continued: "International co-operation on financial consumer protection has the potential to deliver substantial savings for individual governments.  This can be achieved through the co-ordination of research, the development of standards and guidelines, the sharing of best practice and the avoidance of costly crises.

"There are very strong feelings on this issue amongst CI's 220 member organisations, many of whom have lobbied their governments to demand that consumers are not forgotten in the G20 discussions.  CI has also contacted the President of the World Bank and the President of the European Council and will continue to press for change until consumer needs are at the heart of the financial services industry, not an after-thought."

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[i] Consumers International (CI) is the only independent global campaigning voice for consumers. With over 220 member organisations in 115 countries, we are building a powerful international consumer movement to help protect and empower consumers everywhere.

 

Our member organisations have extensive experience of working in financial consumer services including the testing of financial products and services, the provision of financial education and information to consumers, as well as consumer representation and advocacy.

 

For more information, visit www.consumersinternational.org

 

 

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