Duterte OKs law protecting financial consumers

By Azer Parrocha

May 17, 2022, 3:40 pm

MANILA – Financial consumers will now have more protection against cybercrime under a new law signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

Republic Act (RA) No. 11765 or the “Financial Products and Services Consumer Protection Act”, signed by Duterte on May 6, recognizes that the state must implement measures to protect consumers rights’ such as right to equitable and fair treatment; right to disclosure and transparency of financial products and services; right to protection of consumer assets against fraud and misuse; right to data privacy and protection; and right to timely handling and redress of complaints.

"It is the policy of the state to ensure that appropriate mechanisms are in place to protect the interest of consumers of financial products and services under the conditions of transparency, fair, and sound market conduct, and fair, reasonable, and effective handling of financial consumer disputes, which are aligned with global best practices," the law read.

These mechanisms reinforce their confidence in the financial market and foster the stability of the Philippine financial system.

RA 11765 gives financial regulators authority to formulate their own standards and rules of business conduct for financial entities.

"Financial regulators may also determine reasonableness of interest, charges or fees which a financial service provider may demand, collect, or receive for any service or product offered to a financial consumer. Likewise, they may issue their respective rules of procedure concerning administrative actions arising from the implementation of this act," the new law read.

The law also gives financial regulators authority to impose enforcement actions on their respective supervised financial service providers for noncompliance with this act and other existing laws pertinent to the jurisdiction and authority of the respective financial regulators.

They will also have the authority to adjudicate reimbursement of lost funds within a certain threshold.

RA 11765 states that financial regulators must prepare the necessary rules and regulations to implement the provisions of this act within one year from its effectivity.

It was passed by the Senate as Senate Bill No. 2488 on Feb. 2, 2022 and adopted by the House of Representatives as an amendment to House Bill No. 6768 on Feb. 2, 2022.

Financial consumers refer to persons or entities, or their duly appointed representatives, who are purchasers, lessees, recipients, or prospective purchasers, lessees or recipients of financial products or services.

Financial regulators refer to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Insurance Commission (IC), and the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA). (PNA)