EBA updates the Joint Committee Guidelines on complaints-handling to extend their scope of application

31 July 2018

The European Banking Authority (EBA) published today an update to the Joint Committee (JC) Guidelines on complaints-handling, which includes an extension of their scope of application to the authorities supervising the new institutions established under the revised Payment Service Directive (PSD2) and the Mortgage Credit Directive (MCD). This extension will ensure that an identical set of requirements for complaints-handling continues to apply to all financial institutions across the banking, investment and insurance sectors. This will provide consumers with the same level of protection, irrespective of which regulated product or service they are purchasing and which regulated institution they are purchasing it from.
 
The JC Guidelines are addressed to authorities competent in their jurisdictions for supervising complaints-handling by firms, which in the banking sector include credit institutions, payment institutions and electronic money institutions, as defined in the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD), the PSD2 and the Electronic Money Directive (EMD) respectively.
The scope of the application of the JC Guidelines will be extended as of 1 May 2019 to the authorities competent for supervising complaints-handling by:
 
  • Payment initiation service providers, which provide only payment initiation services;
  • Account information service providers (AISPs) benefiting from an exemption under Article 33 of PSD2, which provide only account information services;
  • Credit intermediaries under the MCD; 
  • Non-credit institution creditors under the MCD.
 
In the specific case of AISPs, which provide only account information services, but no other payment services, the EBA, in line with related requirements set out in the PSD2, confirmed that the Guidelines will apply only to security-related complaints.
 
The EBA also clarified that all credit intermediaries should inform consumers about the procedures for submitting a complaint, although competent authorities should consider a general proportionality principle when applying the JC Guideline to credit intermediaries that are sole traders. In relation to the specific case of credit intermediaries that are tied to, or work exclusively for, one creditor, the EBA further clarified that these intermediaries can either handle complaints themselves or rely on the complaints-handling procedure of the creditor.

Legal basis and background

In June 2012, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) published its ‘Guidelines on Complaints-Handling by Insurance Undertakings'. In June 2014, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and the EBA read across these Guidelines to the investment and banking sectors respectively and issued them as JC Guidelines for complaints-handling for the securities and banking sectors, under Article 16 of Regulation (EU) 1093/2010 (EBA Regulation).
 
In March 2016, Directive 2014/17/EU on credit agreements for consumers relating to residential immovable property (the Mortgage Credit Directive) started to apply and introduced requirements for credit agreements offered by credit institutions and two new types of institutions - credit intermediaries and non-credit institution creditors, which were not in the scope of the JC Guidelines that had been published in June 2014. 
 
In January 2018, Directive (EU) 2015/2366 on payment services in the internal market (the revised Payment Services Directive) started to apply and added two new providers of payment services – account information service providers and payment initiation service providers, which were also not in the scope of the JC Guidelines.
The JC Guidelines set out requirements in relation to firms' complaints management policy and function, their registration of complaints, their reporting to national competent authorities, and their assessment of, and responses to, the complaints. 

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