Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, February 27, 2012 – The Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the World Bank convened today a workshop to discuss the Action Plan for consumer protection in the banking and microfinance (MFI) sectors in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The workshop was attended by key stakeholders – a broad spectrum of government, financial institutions and civil society representatives - who were also closely consulted during the preparation process.
The Action Plan identifies specific measures that would strengthen consumer protection and improve financial literacy as preconditions for further development of the financial sector. In addition to describing the proposed actions, the Plan specifies which organizations have the main responsibility for its implementation and suggests target deadlines. While the primary focus is on the high priority measures, achievable by end September 2012, it also includes medium to longer term reforms.
“Treating customers fairly is equally important as the soundness and stability of the financial system in the public’s perception of and trust in the financial sector” stated Anabela Abreu, World Bank Country Manager in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She further emphasized the need to ensure citizens understand what government organizations, civil society and the financial sector are committed in undertaking the necessary changes. “The adoption and implementation of the proposals in this Action Plan would show citizens in BiH that both the authorities and financial institutions recognize consumer concerns and are taking strong actions to address them. All levels of government, banks and MFIs should work together on prompt implementation of the Action Plan.”
Kemal Kozaric, Governor of BH Central Bank emphasized that “the goal of this workshop is promotion of the amicable problem resolution between a client and financial intermediary”. He further noted: “I believe this can be achieved by strengthening the role of banking ombudsman and continuing education of clients and financial intermediaries. The final result of this long term process should be a protected client and higher quality of service by the financial intermediaries.”
The World Bank has secured grant funding to support the authorities in BiH in designing and implementing the most urgent reform actions which are expected to be in place by September 2012.