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21 may 2003

Draft on the consumer credit directive


With over EUR 500 billion, or 7% of Europe's GDP, in outstanding loans, consumer credit is a major economic driver.

 

The current regulations (1987) are applied differently across the European Union, resulting in competitive distortions and making it difficult for consumers looking to obtain credit in a Member State other than their own.

The European Commission adopted a draft consumer credit directive on September 11th 2002. This directive, drawn up without any real prior consultation with professionals, aroused strong opposition from the banking and financial services sector, business and industry.

If it is passed in its current form, it could seriously hinder the development of consumer credit or even prevent some consumers from having access to

credit, without improving overall consumer protection.

French banks ar highly critical


The FBF is in favour of full harmonisation, i.e. adopting the same rules throughout Europe, thus offering greater security and simplicity to both professionals and consumers. However, it believes that, in their current form, several of the draft directive's provisions are unworkable or fall outside the scope of competence of credit institutions.


In particular, it disapproves of the provisions on joint liability of the lender and the supplier of goods, whereby the lender is liable for any flaws or defects in the goods financed, as well as the notion of responsible lending, which comes down to introducing a presumption of the lender's liability.

Similarly, the FBF does not agree with the provisions concerning the solicitation and use of data, which are allowed in all other economic sectors.

Sustained efforts on the part of the FBF

The Chairman of the AFECEI took a stand on this issue in the autumn of 2002 by proposing substantive amendments to the draft directive. The FBF lent support to his initiative through a number of meetings with Euro MPs, the Commission and consumer representatives.

Outlook for 2003

Given the amount of criticism levelled at this draft directive, the discussions could prove drawn-out. The Council and the Parliament should issue an opinion after first reading at the end of 2003. The Ministry of the Economy, Finance and Industry is keeping a close eye on the directive's ramifications for the banking sector and the French economy, while Medef is adopting a similar position to that of the FBF.

 
 
 
 
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