The European Banking Authority (EBA) published today its fifth annual Consumer Trends Report, which provides an overview of the trends observed in 2016, the issues that will or could have an impact on consumers and other market participants and the areas where the EBA may take any action, if needed. The report covers all the products that fall under the EBA's consumer protection mandate, such as mortgages, personal loans, deposits, payment accounts, payment services and electronic money.
For the 2016 Consumer Trends Report, the EBA used a wide range of different information sources and eight different consumer trends and related issues have emerged as relevant. Some of these had already been highlighted in last year's report, namely: household indebtedness, with a focus on lending and related practices, household borrowing and arrears handling, and creditworthiness assessment; banking fees and costs, looking at fees and charges on payment accounts, and their comparability, and at selected costs related to loans; selling practices related to the banking products, with issues related to cross-selling and sales incentives; innovations in payments; alternative financial services providers; and finally innovative uses of consumer data. The two new trends identified in this year's edition refer to foreign currency loans, especially mortgages; and to virtual currencies.
The EBA has already started to address some of these trends, and will use the findings of the report as input when developing and publishing its work programme for 2017 later in the year.
In the final chapter, the report summarises how the EBA addressed the issues identified in last year's report. The measures taken include three sets of final Guidelines on creditworthiness assessments, on arrears and foreclosure, and on product oversight and governance, draft Guidelines on remuneration policies and practices for sales staff, as well as a Discussion Paper on the innovative uses of consumer data.
Background and legal basis
The annual Consumer Trends Report is the fulfilment of the mandate conferred on the EBA in Article 9 of its 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.
The EBA made use of a number of different sources for data and information when identifying the trends for 2016. These include the national supervisory authorities across the 28 EU Member States, the EBA Banking Stakeholder Group (BSG), national Ombudsmen across the European Economic Area, via the Financial Dispute Resolution Network (FIN-NET), as well as statistical datasets and reports produced by independent research institutes and other organisations.