Financial Consumer Protection Framework
Seeking a new compact with consumers
When Bill C-86 was passed into law in Canada nearly a year ago, in December 2018, it incorporated the Financial Consumer Protection Framework (FCPF) as a consolidation of new and enhanced provisions to increase consumer trust in the financial system.
These highly anticipated regulatory changes, finally due to be released imminently, signal heightened expectations for the fair treatment of consumers. Among the provisions set out in the FCPF are new requirements for improved disclosure, changes to express consent requirements, changes to customer cancellation rights, and redress protections.
Among the most significant changes are the requirements concerning handling consumer complaints. The objective of these provisions is to require greater transparency, fairness, and swiftness so that consumers can have greater trust that their concerns are being taken seriously and resolved effectively. Indeed, in the Domestic Bank Retail Sales Practices Review1, the FCAC noted while approximately 90 to 95 percent of consumer complaints are being resolved at the first point of contact as part of good customer service, these complaints are generally not being logged. This weakens a bank’s ability to identify trends and remedy the root cause. The new provisions impose documentation standards, which will dramatically change the amount of information on which institutions can draw to see new patterns and insights.
What should bank leaders be doing right now? Here are some thoughts on where to direct your attention:
- Take an enterprise view. While the FCPF largely affects Canadian retail banking operations, it extends into several other corners of the institution that are involved in selling products and services to the public. Examining the reach and impact of the new rules across the enterprise is an essential starting point.
- Get the definitions straight. The FCPF includes language that requires close analysis to ensure a common interpretation. Terms such as “undue pressure,” “clear, simple and not misleading,” “coerce a customer,” and even “complaint” require careful review to ensure that each bank has a clear definition and common approach to communicating their use.
- Learn from other jurisdictions—and other industries. In our increasingly digital society, how customers experience an interaction with one service provider can transform their expectations of another. Banks should employ a wide-angle perspective to observe not only how consumer protection has unfolded in other financial markets, but also how customer experience and standards are being raised in other industries.
- Understand it’s about a culture of accountability. While the FCPF represents a manifestation of a shift in public policy about consumer protection, it’s clear the compound impact of the provisions is as important as the line-by-line prescriptive requirements. We believe it is incumbent on banking leaders to help signal these intentions and model the new culture of accountability implied by these rules.
Above all, banking leaders need to examine how the rising standards of consumer protection create an opportunity to strengthen the bond of trust with customers and increase the long-term value of these relationships.
Seek assistant to help you identify whether the requirements and standards of the Financial Consumer Protection Framework may apply to your business and help you address the challenges of evolving regulatory compliance, corporate governance, and risk management matters in the financial services industry.
1Domestic Bank Retail Sales Practices Review, Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, March 20, 2018.