Worldwide consumer organisations sign open letter to G20


CHOICE joins other consumer organisation in calling for financial protection for “real people”

Consumers International (CI), which represents 220 consumer organisations in 115 countries, urgently wants to see the needs of everyday consumers of financial services pushed to the top of the agenda at this week’s G20 summit. Consumer organisations from 30 countries, including the G20 countries, have signed an open letter pressing the summit attendees to ensure that the worldwide financial crisis is never repeated.

Justin Macmullan, CI’s head of campaigns explains: “Many G20 members have sought to increase financial stability through the development of stress tests, improved independence of credit rating agencies and requirements to increase capital ratios. And yet, as a group, the G20 has done nothing to address consumer financial protection which - as exemplified by US sub-prime mortgages – was a key catalyst for the financial crisis.

“The interconnected nature of global banking means that people around the world will live with the consequences of this for years to come. And yet, each year the global economy creates up to 150 million new consumers of financial services, many of whom are in countries where consumer protection and financial literacy are woefully inadequate.

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.

CI members around the world have been lobbying their own governments as well as the South Korean government to make sure that the interests of “real people” are not overlooked for the interests of big business.

Justin Macmullan concluded: “The time has come for the G20 world leaders to make a real commitment to protecting their citizens from abusive financial services industry practices which are not in the best interests of the consumer.

“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.”

For further information contact:

Vicky Taylor, Consumers International, Tel: +44 20 7226 6663 Ext: 219, mobile: +44 7975741340, email vtaylor@consint.org

Notes to Editors:

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

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.

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