The World Bank Wants Your Comments: What Should National Consumer Protection Look Like?

> Posted by Beth Rhyne

The World Bank has been working on Consumer Protection for several years, going in-depth with governments and banking authorities.  The consumer protection team, led by Sue Rutledge, has now distilled that experience into a set of “Common Good Practices” for consumer protection.  Unlike the Smart Campaign’s Client Protection Principles (CPPs), aimed at financial services providers, these 39 (!!) principles address the entire national “regime” governing consumer protection.  They lay out roles and responsibilities for all the actors involved in client protection, from regulators to credit bureaus to providers of financial education.
In keeping with our work with the Smart Campaign, I noted that the World Bank highlights the role of provider associations as the locus for sector-wide codes of conduct.  This fits with the Smart Campaign’s emphasis on national associations of microfinance institutions as key guardians of the Client Protection Principles for microfinance.
The document also addresses how clients should be treated, with sections on disclosure and sales practices, data privacy, and complaint resolution that are in many ways parallel to the Smart Campaign CPPs. While there is nothing in the “Common Good Practices” that contradicts the Smart Campaign CPPs, there is surprising specificity about some items, such as written communication with clients, and a lack of specificity about others, such as abusive debt collection practices.
The World Bank has extended the comment period on the “Common Good Practices” until the end of this week.  There is still time to comment, and your views matter!
Image credit: Tango Desktop Project
Have you read?
Empowering Clients to Implement Client Protection
What ‘World Consumer Rights Day’ Means for Financial Inclusion
Smart Campaign Unveils e-Learning Course to Boost Client Protection and Financial Education