Monday 19 November 2018

Central Bank is told to do more for consumers

Central Bank
Central Bank
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

THE Central Bank has been told to do more to ensure consumers are treated fairly by banks, insurers and other financial firms.

A peer review of the consumer protection function of the Central Bank praised the efforts of regulators, but also recommended seven key improvements.

The review was carried out by the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets.

Central Bank officials were told to come up with a future strategy to ensure consumers are treated fairly by financial providers and said this should be measured.

Regulators were also advised to get more involved in examining specific financial products, rather than focusing mainly on individual product providers.

Also suggested by the Dutch regulators was a greater emphasis on the most serious risks for consumers rather than a "firm-specific approach" to supervision.

More attention should also be paid to areas that are key risks to consumers. The Central Bank has identified five key areas where is concentrates its consumer protection activities, but more work needs to be done to "operationalise" this, the report states.

The peer review was conducted to see how the Central Bank measures up to international standards.

Central Bank director of consumer protection Bernard Sheridan said: "We will carefully consider the recommendations emerging from the programme."

The report follows strong criticism from the Free Legal Advice Centres (Flac) of the consumer protection activities of the Central Bank. In a detailed report in March 2014, Flac said consumers were robbed of many of their rights and protections across the financial sector during the boom because of "soft-touch" regulation, singling out the Central Bank, among others. Flac claimed regulations governing consumer protection remain deeply flawed.

Irish Independent

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