The European Banking Authority (EBA) published today its fourth annual Consumer Trends Report. The report, which covers all the products that fall into the EBA's consumer protection mandate, such as mortgages, personal loans, deposits, payment accounts, payment services and electronic money, highlights the trends the EBA has observed with these products in 2015 and the issues that may arise, or have arisen, for consumers buying them. It also provides early indications as to the areas in which the EBA may take action going forward. In addition, the report summarises all the measures the EBA has taken to address these issues.
In 2015, the EBA identified eight relevant trends that may be the basis for potential future work in the area of consumer protection. Of these eight trends, six remain since last year's report, namely: household indebtedness, with a specific focus on mortgages; transparency and comparability of banking fees; innovation in payments; structured deposits; commercial selling practices and remuneration, in particular, as a key causal driver of mis-selling; and alternative financial services providers. For the first time, the report highlighted two trends, such as the use of banking consumer data, which is increasingly used by financial and other institutions to generate additional revenue; and negative interest rates and its effects on consumer contracts, both on deposits and loans.
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 2016, later this year.
The report also summarises how the EBA has addressed the issues identified in last year's report. The measures taken include one Regulatory Technical Standard on the minimum amount of professional indemnity insurance, two Guidelines on provisional lists of most representative services linked to a payment account and on security of internet payments, three consultation papers on draft guidelines on creditworthiness assessments, on arrears and foreclosure, and on product oversight and governance, and two opinions on virtual currencies and on lending-base crowdfunding.
Background and legal basis
The EBA resorted to a number of different sources for data and information when identifying trends for 2015. These include 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.
Article 9 of the EBA Regulation requires the EBA 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.