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Association française des usagers des banques - AFUB

The intelligibility which is necessitated by the chosen approach to defining what is meant by ‘service’ requires clear expressivity and simple comprehension. In this regard, the ‘broad approach’ based on a generic definition corresponds to this preoccupation. The French Bank Users Association (FBUA-AFUB) is therefore in favor of evicting the granular approach in favor of the one recommended by the European Banking Authority (EBA).
The list of services proposed is fully approved by the FBUA-AFUB as it takes into account all the operations linked to the functioning of a bank account. However, the AFUB wishes to formulate several precisions:

Concerning the overdraft: French legislation provides an overdraft may be granted tacitly (meaning it does not require any agreement) or be the subject of a genuine credit offer.
Based on French banking practice, it appears sufficient that such a faculty is integrated in the bank account agreement.

Concerning the credit card: referring to them in the list may seem outdated. Effectively, the credit card is often subject to a loan offer yet it’s use is mainly linked to the relevant account and the way it functions. Despite this mimicry, this card offering payment by credit still has its place in the list.

Conclusively, the FBUA-AFUB validates the proposition.
With regards to the terms and definitions, their formulation must comply with the requirement of serving the public. This entails using words comprising a concrete connotation and a useful meaning in a way which will stimulate comprehension and interest on behalf of the public.

In this perspective of objectivity, there is no reason to retain the use of the 2nd person in a direct style which may additionally risk generating a feeling of condescension towards the user who may find this unpleasant.

The EBA’s point of view in this matter is therefore approved by the FBUA-AFUB.
4) Based on its practical experience and legal expertise, the FBUA-AFUB believes the terms and definitions should be modified as follows:

Terme - Définition

Tenue de compte: L’établissement fournit le compte et gère le compte utilisé par le client.

Carte de débit : L’établissement fournit une carte de paiement liée au compte du client. Le montant de chaque opération effectuée à l'aide de cette carte est prélevé directement et intégralement sur le compte du client

Carte de crédit : L’établissement fournit une carte de paiement liée au compte de paiement du client. Le montant des opérations effectuées à l'aide de cette carte au cours d'une période convenue est prélevé à une date convenue par imputation sur le crédit. Un contrat de crédit entre l’établissement et le client détermine les conditions de renouvellement et de facturation des intérêts.

découvert: L’établissement et le client conviennent à l’avance que le client peut utiliser ce compte et exécuter des paiements même si il n’ya plus d’argent sur le compte. Le contrat définit le montant maximum susceptible d'être emprunté et précise si des frais et des intérêts seront facturés au client.

Virement: L’établissement transfère, sur instruction du client, une somme d’argent du compte du client vers un autre compte

Virement permanent: L’établissement effectue, sur instruction du client, des transferts réguliers, d'un montant fixe, du compte du client vers un autre compte.

Prélèvement : Le client autorise un tiers (le bénéficiaire) à donner instruction à l’établissement de prélever une somme d'argent du compte du client vers celui du bénéficiaire. Cet établissement prélève ensuite le montant considéré au compte du bénéficiaire à la date ou aux dates convenues entre le client et le bénéficiaire. Le montant concerné peut varier périodiquement.

Retrait d’espèces: Le client prélève des espèces à partir de son compte

This suggestion is made in order to take into account French banking practices. Therefore, these modifications contribute in achieving the directives aim of enhancing transparency and comparability.
1rst observation relating to the package of services: the reference to the grouped offer does not comply with the reality of French banking practices. Effectively, French banks often propose more than one formula to their clients. For this reason the FBUA-AFUB recommends that banks should have the obligation to indicate the fees related to the package which is the most distributed in its network. This must be done whilst specifying the percentage that it represents within the total distribution of packages.
This latter requirement is crucial in avoiding the scenario whereby an establishment would refer to the cheapest and least distributed package, thereby guaranteeing competitive transparency.

2nd observation relating to the formal presentation of the FID template: through its clarity and the aerial use of space, the document ensures comprehension on behalf of the consumer in a simple and stimulating manner.

Similarly, the A4 format guarantees an apprehension on behalf of the consumer corresponding to the traditional framework of the documents he is used to having submitted to him and thus dealing with.
Notably, this presentation can be distinguished from the French practice of tariff plates which, due to its smaller size and tighter typography, tends to dissuade many users from acknowledging them and apprehending their content. For this reason, the FBUA-AFUB expresses a favorable opinion concerning this document, its conception and readability being in the interest of the consumer and of free competition.

3rd observation concerning the formalization of the FID template: the edition date must appear on the document in order to fix in an intangible way the moment when the photography of tariffs was taken.
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Through the clarity of its calligraphy, its size, use of space, the proposed document is approved by the FBUA-AFUB. In relation to this, 3 observations must be formulated:


a. Firstly concerning the charged/used services: Although article 5 of the directive is aimed at the ‘used’ services. The FBUA believes that the notion of ‘charged service’ which figures in the document is more concrete and thus significant for clients; it is more conform with the initial objective of the document dedicated to deducted billing.

b. On the necessary standardization and homogenization- comparative factor of tariffs: The document refers to several categories of fees, including fees which, in France, may appear useless based on professional banking practice. For instance, the interest rate on credits as banks to not pay any interest on credit balances. Nevertheless, the FBUA-AFUB is of the opinion that the relevant line must be maintained as this would enable the consumer to operate a comparison with the services offered by the establishments in other member states. Consequently, FBUA-AFUB emphasizes the utility for the users of the proposed presentation.

c. On the suggestion relating to formal standardization: French banking practice does not ensure the homogenization of the presentation of documents relating to tariffs, each establishment remaining free to select a format. Yet, this represents an obstacle to the aim of comparability by complicating the process for the consumer of comparing documentation issued by the banks. The standardization of the format permits to avoid this difficulty whilst contributing to facilitating the approach and the consumer’s appreciation.

d. Concerning the formalization of the SoF template: As already mentioned above in relation to the FID template, the edition date must appear on the document in order to fix in an intangible way the moment when the photography of tariffs was taken.
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The AFUB (Association française des usagers des banques has for mission to provide information for the consumers relating to their rights and obligations, and also give them the means to enforce them. The AFUB was founded in 1987 and has existed for 30 years. It's president, Serge Maitre, is a member of the 'Comité consultatif du secteur financier auprès du ministre des finances'. Each month, over 150 000 consumers address their concerns to the AFUB.
Caroline Fitzsimons
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