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Central Bank takes next step on consumer code
Derville Rowland (Pic: RollingNews.ie)

07 Mar 2024 / regulation Print

Central Bank takes next step on consumer code

The Central Bank has launched a consultation paper on its plans to modernise and clarify the Consumer Protection Code.

The regulator said that the new code would be underpinned by firms’ obligation to secure their customers’ interests.

The proposals include new protections on areas such as digitisation, mortgages, and fraud.

Business model

The Central Bank’s deputy governor Derville Rowland (small picture) described the code as “the cornerstone of the Irish consumer-protection framework”.

She said that it had served consumers well, but that the time had come to update the protections to support the financial system of today and into the future.

The publication today (7 March) follows the submission of views from the public and the industry on an earlier discussion paper.

Rowland said that one of the new code’s main goals was to help businesses to “effectively incorporate customers’ interests into their overall business model and commercial decision-making".

The Central Bank said that guidance on the code would detail what firms needed to consider, and the actions they needed to take, to deliver positive consumer outcomes.

Digital platforms

The proposals include measures on:

  • Digitisation,
  • Informing effectively,
  • Mortgage credit and switching.
  • Unregulated activities,
  • Frauds and scams,
  • Vulnerability, and
  • Climate risk.

The code includes proposals on making digital platforms easier to use. It will also make it clear where regulated firms are providing unregulated services.

It contains a new definition of financial abuse, while there are also measures to beef up monitoring of frauds and scams.

Trusted contact persons

“We are also proposing a new framework to support people in vulnerable circumstances,” said Rowland.

“Firms must take reasonable steps to support such customers and to implement training, reporting, and the recognition of trusted contact persons,” she added.

The code would introduce a requirement for firms to facilitate customers who wished to provide the name and contact information of someone – a trusted contact – with whom a firm may communicate with where there is difficulty supporting a customer, or where financial abuse is suspected.

The submission period for the consultation process will remain open for three months, from Thursday 7 March to Friday 7 June 2024.

Gazette Desk
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