Amando M. Tetangco, Jr: Protecting the consumers of financial services in the Philippines
Keynote address by Mr Amando M Tetangco, Jr, Governor of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (the central bank of the Philippines), at the launch of the Banking Code for Consumer Protection, Bank Marketing Association of the Philippines General Membership Meeting, Manila, 24 October 2012.
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Mr. Allan Tumbaga, President of the Bank Marketing Association of the Philippines (BMAP); Mr. Patrick Cheng, President of Chamber of Thrift Banks; Mr. Edward Garcia, President of the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines; Mr. Cesar Virtusio, Executive Director of the Bankers Association of the Philippines; officers and members of BMAP; MBM Peter Favila; former BAP President Gigi Montinola; friends in the banking sector; colleagues from the BSP; ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.
It is my pleasure to join you in launching the new Banking Code for Consumer Protection. The Bangko Sentral commends BMAP, as well as the rest of the industry associations for working together in updating the Code. This is tangible proof of your responsiveness and commitment to provide the best service possible to your clients.
It is also evidence of your recognition that the lifeblood of the banking system comes from client deposits and investments, and that their trust is something that banks must strive to preserve. This is why bankers, from top management down to the frontline staff, must exercise prudence and vigilance in ensuring that banking operations are optimally carried out.
The preservation of public trust is likewise the underlying imperative for the Bangko Sentral’s policy and regulatory actions. This drives us to constantly emphasize that the business of banking requires serious effort to keep operations within the bounds of safety, soundness and professional management. This practice, in itself, is already equivalent to protecting the consumers of financial services. However, responsible banking is more than just business savvy and prudent risk management.
Responsible banking means a conscientious focus on clients by putting their best interest at heart. It means recognizing that they deserve the highest standards of service. Client-centered banking entails embedding consumer protection in business operations.
Products and services must be designed, priced and delivered in ways that match client needs. Adequate measures must be in place to ensure that the consumers are not unduly disadvantaged by business processes. The credit approval process should, for example, prevent over-indebtedness. The features and conditionalities of financial products should be clearly communicated. Transparency in information and pricing should be the key principle in marketing and client dealings.
Client-focused banking further means treating consumers, regardless of their economic standing, with fairness, dignity and respect in all phases of transactions. This requires ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of client information. It also necessitates measures that prevent fraud or abuse. For example, staff training in good customer service is important. Incentivizing ethical behavior can positively reinforce staff honesty and reliability. Treating clients with respect at all times, of course entails quite a lot of patience and tolerance, but this will surely endear you more to your clients.
Another important element of client-focused banking is a straightforward mechanism for complaints resolution. We at the Bangko Sentral, encourage banks to institutionalize a system of redress that immediately addresses customer concerns. It is essential that your clients know where or who to complain to within your institution.
More on the 8th General Membership Meeting:
Truth and Transparency in Lending
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and Financial Inclusion