Due to the financial crisis not only 16 million jobs world-wide are lost, but banks had to write down $2.3 trillion of assets. The financial crisis has led to a debate on how to better regulate the financial market. This debate is characterized by the fact that the voice of ordinary citizens and consumers is largely unheard.
This deficit was a reason for the British consumer organization Which? to establish the Future of Banking Commission. It aimed to engage consumers in dialogue with experts and to highlight their concerns and to harness their views about what should be done. After four public hearings, the results are now published.
The recommendations encompass measures to improve the structure, regulation and corporate governance of the financial services sector. The recommendations also highlight the need to consider further improvements in consumer protections such as:
- Ensure customers can easily transfer products and accounts.
- Ensure customers with overdrafts are not overcharged.
- Set ‘default’ settings on services, products and accounts in the customer’s best interest.
- Allow customers to choose to ‘opt-in’ to unauthorised overdrafts.
- Consider introducing standard products for some basic services which all retail providers have to provide, and a common form in plain English to explain the key terms so that customers can easily compare products provide by different providers on the same basis.
For further information, see: http://commission.bnbb.org/banking/ and commission.bnbb.org/banking/sites/all/themes/whichfobtheme/pdf/commission_report.pdf