Consumers crucial to rebuilding trust in banks Which? reports from the Consumer World Congress

03 May 2011

Words about financial crisis

Consumer organisations have been told this week that banks and governments should have spent more 'brain power' on consumers during the financial crisis.

The statement was made by Christine Lagarde, France's minister for economic affairs and chair of the G20 finance ministers, who said 'it is my personal belief that on the occasion of the crisis we didn't spend a lot of time, nor a lot of brain power on consumers.'

She was speaking in a video address to the Consumers International World Congress, where consumer organisations, government representatives and businesses from all over the world are discussing how to get fairer financial services for consumers.

Lagarde added that as consumers were the victims of the financial crisis on many occasions, they deserved more consideration and recognition in the efforts to reform banking.

'It is only fair that consumers are part of the process of rebuilding trust and rebuilding regulation and making sure that the same situation does not happen again.'

Banking reform and the G20

Following requests from G20 leaders, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Financial Stability Board and the World Bank are currently developing a report on how to improve consumer protection in financial services. The report will be presented at the G20 summit in France in November. 

Representatives from these organisations are at the Congress to meet and discuss this issue with consumer organisations. This report is a chance to put forward the views of consumers, and make recommendations on how better protection can be put in place in the wake of the financial crisis.

We've taken consumer suggestions of bank rules to the congress, as well as evidence collected over the years on how banks can better serve the consumer.

Which? welcomes recognition of consumers

Lagarde’s comments have been welcomed by many organisations at the Congress, including Which?

We believe that consumers need to be at the heart of banking reform, to make sure that their money can be kept safe.

Dominic Lindley, principal policy advisor for Which?, is attending the Congress in Hong Kong. He said:

‘It’s great to see recognition of the struggle that consumers faced, and are still facing, as a result of the financial crisis. All consumer organisations now have a great opportunity to help the G20 reform banks for the better and make sure that consumers are protected from another crisis, and don't end up paying the price for the banks' mistakes.

‘Let’s hope that the banks, and governments from across the world, seize this great opportunity to make a genuine difference to consumers.’

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