Towards Inclusive, Safe and Sustainable Financial Services for Consumers

Finance Watch publishes its blueprint on retail financial services with an assessment of the current market failures and key priorities for the next European Commission.

In its blueprint the public interest NGO Finance Watch suggests key priorities for the next European Commission to ensure inclusive, safe and sustainable financial services for consumers.

A well-functioning market for retail financial services is important for both the economy and citizens of the EU. However, despite genuine efforts, the current European Institutions have not managed to adopt measures to tackle the root causes of the problems consumers are facing: artificial complexity, unfair commercial practices, exclusion of vulnerable groups from using basic services as well as a lack of social corporate responsibility and of the involvement of public authorities.

As the European Commission prepares its key priorities for the next mandate, Finance Watch reminds policymakers of the importance of guaranteed access to a minimum basket of financial products, of establishing clear rules for simple and sustainable financial products and of making a comprehensive analysis at European level of the whole retail financial services market regarding its size, the nature of institutions, their business models, distribution channels and remuneration.

Olivier Jérusalmy, Senior Research and Advocacy Officer at Finance Watch, said:
 “Consumer confidence in financial services providers continues to be low, and mis-selling scandals continue to occur with a worrying frequency. Given the important role that retail financial services play in the average citizen’s life, consumers need to be well protected and not exploited in this key market.”

“In view of society’s increasing dependence on financial services, financial inclusion is an important part of social inclusion. Being financially excluded or over-indebted has an important impact on society as a whole, because of the link with the risk of poverty and with inequality in the ability to get back into employment, to be in good health and therefore to lead a dignified life.”

Download the blueprint