Consumer Protection

Responsible financial inclusion encompasses core Client Protection Principles to help financial service providers practice good ethics and smart business.


Consumer protection is integral to building customer trust and is a cornerstone of a stable financial system. Guided by the widely-adopted Client Protection Principles, consumer protection is woven into all of CFI’s work. CFI works to protect consumers by identifying and building knowledge on emerging risks and working with stakeholders—financial service providers, investors, policymakers—to ensure their practices promote the well-being of customers.

Our current agenda tackles some of the most pressing barriers to building an inclusive financial system that works for low-income clients, including consumer protection challenges presented in the wake of the global pandemic, adoption of tech-enabled market monitoring innovations relevant to consumer protection, and fostering dialogue among an increasingly complex set of stakeholders.

In 2022, CFI took on the convening role of Responsible Finance Forum (RFF), a global coalition working to assess and manage rapidly evolving consumer risks faced by financial systems and low-income people. The platform provides a forward-thinking space for knowledge-sharing, ongoing research, and global dialogue to improve risk identification and mitigation.

Consumer protection has been a pillar of CFI’s activities since its founding. From 2009 to 2020, CFI led the Smart Campaign, a global initiative that worked to create an environment in which financial services are delivered safely and responsibly to low-income clients. The Campaign developed the first global financial consumer protection standards, established a rigorous certification program to validate practices by financial service providers, produced consumer protection research, and convened partners to effect change. The Campaign was sunset in 2020 and management of the Client Protection Standards was transitioned to long-time partners, SPTF and Cerise.

How to Lend Money to Strangers

CFI’s Jayshree Venkatesan was a guest on the How to Lend Money to Strangers podcast to talk about the importance of consumer protection, CFI’s role in advancing financial inclusion, and how she found herself in this space.

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