In line with BSP’s financial literacy advocacy, Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. issued Officer Order No. 892 on 15 October 2006 that created the Financial Consumer Affairs Group (FCAG) of the Supervision and Examination Sector (SES). The group was established to support the SES in ensuring the protection of depositors and investors and enabling the smooth and orderly functioning of the entire financial system.
Functions and Objectives
FCAG is responsible for conducting advocacy initiatives aimed at educating and supporting the interest of the public on financial literacy issues, which include:
- Assisting consumers on the resolution of complaints or disputes with BSP-supervised financial institutions;
- Initiating the adoption of or modification of policies, rules and regulations in line with consumer protection laws and BSP's financial literacy advocacy; and
- Providing liaison activities/services between the SES and the public, the legislative, and the financial sector with regard to consumer issues related to use of banking services.
The financial literacy program of the FCAG of SES aims to enhance financial consumers’ concept and understanding of various products and services of BSP-supervised institutions that will help them:
- Acquire the necessary skills and appropriate attitude towards making informed decisions;
- Identify their consumer rights and responsibilities; and
- Minimize occurrence of being victimized by financial frauds and scams
The FCAG carries out its mandate through self-initiated activities or in coordination with other partners, such as: the Corporate Affairs Office and other BSP departments/groups, various banking associations, like the Credit Card Association of the Philippines (CCAP), other government counterparts, like the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and other consumer interest groups.
Relative to the group’s objectives, the following activities were conducted in 2007:
- Facilitation of a consumer assistance mechanism for complaints, inquiries and requests from the public concerning financial products and services of BSP-supervised institutions;
- Preparation and issuance of BSP Circular Letter Nos. 2007-048 and 047, both dated 24 September 2007. The former reminds banks to duly comply with the provisions of Circular 485 referring to notification of consumers regarding increase in service or maintenance fees on savings and demand deposits that fall below the required minimum monthly average daily balance. The latter reminds banks to comply with the provisions of Circular 542 dated 01 September 2006 to enhance their security program in the light of the increasing incidence of identity theft.
- Preparation of comments, position papers, and inputs to BSP issuances related to the enhancement of consumer protection.
- Conduct of awareness sessions on credit card issues, in compliance with MB Res. No. 1328 dated 22 November 2007, and other awareness sessions on financial consumer protection.
- Development of a Consumer Portal, mandated by MB Res. No. 1328 dated 22 November 2007, which is proposed to run at the BSP website in order to enhance public awareness on consumer basic rights and responsibilities and other issues on consumer protection.
- Preparation of financial information/education materials like handbooks, advisories, press releases, and learning modules.
- Partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to discuss consumer protection on foreign remittances which resulted in a joint press release in July 2007.
- Participation in public hearings and consultative meetings with private and government organizations on issues involving financial consumer protection.
- Capacity building, which requires FCAG personnel to attend seminars, trainings and conventions to equip them with the knowledge, skills and attitude appropriate for an effective and efficient delivery of financial education to consumers. Key to the nationwide rollout of FCAG’s financial literacy program is a training of trainers that develops a pool of trainers to increase the effectiveness of the financial literacy modules.