20 February 2019
The European Banking Authority (EBA) published today its Consumer Trends Report for 2018 and 2019. The Report covers the trends and issues related to retail banking products and services that fall within the EBA's consumer protection mandate, such as mortgages, consumer credit, deposits, payment accounts, payment services and electronic money. The Report also provides an overview of the topical issues identified in 2018/19 that impact or may impact consumers.
The 2018/19 edition of the consumer trends Report is more extensive than previous editions as it provides a comprehensive quantitative assessment of the trends and a qualitative description of each retail banking product or service within the EBA's consumer protection scope. It also outlines the related issues and the applicable legislative and regulatory framework, including the measures the EBA has undertaken to address them.
In this Report, the EBA observed that mortgages continue to have a big impact on consumers' personal finances, representing 77% of loans to households, and follow a trend of slight increase in terms of volume and value for the past five years. During the same period, the volume of consumer credit was relatively stable, while deposits slightly decreased in their volume. With reference to payment accounts, the EBA observed that the number of people holding a payment account within the EU increased and covered a significant percentage of the EU population. This may have resulted in the significant increase in the use of digital and online payment services.
The Report also identified the most relevant topics for consumers, such as fees and charges; indebtedness, responsible lending and creditworthiness assessment; financial literacy and education; transparency and disclosure of pre-contractual information and changes to contractual terms and conditions; data breach and cyber security; and cross-border selling of products and services. More specifically, these topics focus on issues related to consumer detriment arising from the lack of transparency and disclosure of information on fees and charges, poor creditworthiness assessments, and the complexity of financial products.
This Report builds on information provided by the national competent authorities of the 28 EU Member States, as well as on input received from various external stakeholders, such as national and EU consumer associations, the members of the ‘Financial Dispute Resolution Network' and EU industry associations. The Report also assesses quantitative data from the European Central Bank and the World Bank.
The Consumer Trends Report for 2018/19 has been developed according to Article 9 of the EBA founding Regulation, which requires the Authority to take a leading role in promoting transparency, simplicity and fairness in the market for consumer financial products or services across the internal market, including by collecting, analysing and reporting on consumer trends.