Business groups push financial consumer protection bill

Published July 19, 2021, 2:46 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Some 16 local and foreign business groups have strongly urged for the immediate enactment of the proposed Financial Consumer Protection (FCP) Act, which seeks to protect consumers amidst the growing complexity in financial services, especially digital services.

In a statement the business group said that the intricate development of financial products and services resulting from advancements in technology has opened countless opportunities for financial markets and consumers alike. It also poses new risks, particularly to financial consumers.

“Reality has shown how financial products, including financial services accessed through digital channels, are susceptible to fraud or used for fraudulent purposes,” according to a statement.

Thus, the group said, it is of paramount importance to legislate reforms in the financial sector which will ensure that appropriate mechanisms are in place to protect the interest of financial consumers amidst the growing complexity of financial products and services.

The FCP bill proposes to establish a comprehensive financial consumer protection framework covering a complex range of financial products and services, and delivery channels. The measure intends to address the lack of consumer protection mechanism related to the provision of financial products and services especially digital financial services.

The proposed FCP act, among other things, will vest financial regulators with powers to determine the reasonableness of interests, fees or charges of financial products or services, issue cease and desist orders, and suspend operations of financial service providers in relation to a particular financial product or service.

It also seeks to allow financial regulators to expedite the adjudication of monetary claims arising from financial transactions, which will significantly help the financial consumers to seek redress and recover their losses from their financial transaction in an efficient and speedy manner.

The Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX) itself said that an immediate enactment of the FCP bill into law will not only address the economic hardship being encountered by the public during this challenging period but also to strengthen the Philippine financial ecosystem for the long term good of our country.

Other business organizations that urged FCP passage include the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham), Cebu Business Club (CBC), Cebu Leads Foundation, CIBI Foundation Inc., Filipina CEO Circle, FINTECH Alliance PH Guild of Real Estate Entrepreneurs and Professionals Inc., Investment House Association of the Philippines, Intellectual Property of the Philippines, Management Association of the Philippines, National Real Estate Association Inc. (NREA), Nordic Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc., Procurement and Supply Institute of Asia, Philippine Council of Association and Association Executives, Philippine Life Insurance Association, Philippine Retailers Association, Philippine Women’s Economic Network, Shareholders’ Association of the Philippines, and Women’s Business Council Philippines.

 
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