The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the launch of a consumer protection framework to handle cases of impropriety between banks and their consumers.
These Institutions under the scope of the Framework include Commercial or Merchant Banks, Specialized Banks, Micro-finance Banks, Discount Houses, Development Finance Institutions, Finance Houses, Bureaux-de-Change, Primary Mortgage Banks, Credit Bureaux, Mobile Money Operators and other institutions licensed by the CBN.
According to the apex bank the Framework shall guide the effective regulation of consumer protection practices of Financial Institutions under the regulatory purview of the CBN to ensure that consumers of financial services are adequately protected and treated fairly.
The Framework spells out the roles and responsibilities of the regulator, the FIs and the consumers in ensuring that the standards set, are met.
Consumer protection under the Framework will be guided by nine key principles and should be read in conjunction with the provisions of the CBN Act, the BOFIA and subsidiary regulations made under these Acts.
“The mandate of the CBN to promote a stable financial system underscores the need for the Bank to develop and implement a Consumer Protection Framework that ensures the protection of consumer rights.
“Furthermore, the 2008 global financial crisis re-emphasized the need for concerted efforts among regulators in various jurisdictions to establish robust policies and structures aimed at regulating the conduct of operators, with a view to protecting consumer’s assets,” CBN said.
The Framework which is a product of extensive engagements and consultations with critical stakeholders sets out the minimum standards for financial consumer protection and is developed in conformity with international good practices and standards.
The Framework is expected to enhance consumer confidence in the financial services industry and promote financial stability, growth and innovation. Other specific objectives of the Framework are to: protect consumers’ assets; ensure timely complaints handling and dispute resolution; ensure financial services operators put in place effective consumer risk management framework; empower consumers to make informed decisions; promote professionalism and ethics; and outline the rights and responsibilities of consumers.
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