The European Banking Authority (EBA) published today its annual consumer trends report for 2017. The Report covers the retail banking products that fall in the EBA's consumer protection mandate, including mortgages, personal loans, deposits, payment accounts, payment services and electronic money. The report also provides an overview of the topical issues identified in 2017 that may impact consumers and other market participants, namely indebtedness, banking fees and costs, selling practices, innovation in payments, foreign currency loans, alternative financial services providers, and innovative uses of consumer data.
In its continued monitoring effort on the retail banking products, the EBA has observed that mortgages continue to have the biggest impact on consumers, though consumer credit has seen a rapid increase in demand. Nevertheless, consumers tend to complain to their national competent authorities mainly about payment accounts and payment services.
Due to the low interest rate environment, the EBA has observed a gradual increase in the level of indebtedness across the EU as well the introduction of new or the increase in already existing fees and charges on payment accounts and loans. Security of innovative payment instruments and solutions was also highlighted as an important issue for consumers. On the other hand, issues such as selling practices and foreign currency loans, while still relevant for consumers, showed a slight decrease in importance.
The report also summarises, where relevant, the measures the EBA has taken to address some of the identified issues, including technical standards and guidelines relating to the security of payment transactions, the transparency and disclosure of information on payment accounts, the mis-selling of financial products.
This Report builds on information provided by the national competent authorities of the 28 EU Member States, as well as on input received from a selection of national consumer associations and the EBA Banking Stakeholder Group. Due to budget constraints, the external sources of information that the EBA had used in previous years could not be drawn upon for the 2017 Report.
The annual Consumer Trends Report is the fulfilment of the mandate conferred on the EBA in Article 9 of its founding Regulation, which requires the Authority to take a leading role in promoting transparency, simplicity and fairness in the market for consumer financial products or services across the internal market, including by collecting, analysing and reporting on consumer trends.