Banking services: Time for consumers to benefit?


Consumers take centre stage in the Commission's Green Paper on Retail Financial Services, which lays down options on how to make retail banking and insurance services better and cheaper for EU citizens. However, the Commission, Parliament and industry are at odds over how to improve consumer protection and choice in retail financial services.

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In a Green Paper adopted on 30 April 2007, the Commission outlined the over-arching objectives of the EU's upcoming proposals on retail financial services. The paper launched a debate on how financial products purchased by individual consumers during their everyday lives, such as bank accounts, loans, mortgages, investments and insurance could be improved and harmonised across the EU.

For example, suggestions include making it easier for consumers to switch from one bank to another or benefit from the whole range of offers across Europe when considering taking credit. The Commission consultation is based on the findings of the inquiry into the retail banking sector.