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Proposed Financial Consumer Protection Act to benefit consumers

In a press release, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas underscored the importance of the proposed Financial Consumer Protection Act as an enabling law for protecting financial consumer welfare.

“This legislative initiative has far-reaching benefits to consumers especially amid the rise in digital transactions. The proposed reforms in the financial sector will enhance the authority of regulators and ensure that appropriate mechanisms are in place to safeguard the interest of financial consumers,” BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said.

Under the proposed FCPA which is pending Senate deliberation in the Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions, and Currencies, financial regulators may issue a cease-and-desist order without the need for prior hearing in unfair collection practices deemed as threats or harassment against a financial consumer.

Furthermore, consumers no longer need to go to court if their claim involves a return of money from a financial service provider. This translates to a prompt and more efficient process when consumers seek reparation in financial transactions, as warranted by financial regulators.

In cases of undispensed ATM withdrawals, both the depository bank and bank operating the ATM may be liable to cardholders. However, when neither is willing to settle a customer’s claim, a consumer may go through the adjudication process and file a claim directly with the BSP.

Financial service providers that are found responsible for credit card fraud in online shopping may be subject to sanctions including fines, suspension, or penalties.

The BSP Governor underscored that consumer protection is a shared responsibility among regulators, consumers, and relevant stakeholders. According to Diokno, “Consumer welfare is a continuing agenda of the BSP. We enjoin financial institutions, bank organizations, and relevant partners and stakeholders to push consumer protection initiatives forward as the responsibility is too great for any entity to take on singly.”*

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