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Consumer Protection and Financial Literacy: Lessons from Nine Country Studies


The recent turmoil in financial markets worldwide has emphasized the need for adequate consumer protection and financial literacy for long-term stability of the financial sector.

This working paper summarizes key lessons from reviews of consumer protection and financial literacy in nine middle-income countries of Europe and Central Asia (Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, the Russian Federation and Slovakia).

A common challenge among the nine countries is the need of an adequate institutional structure for financial consumer protection. The objective of the paper is to contribute to the international dialog on strengthening financial consumer protection and financial literacy in emerging markets.


The theme of the paper is that a financial consumer protection regime should meet three objectives:

  1. Consumers should receive accurate, simple, comparable information of a financial service or product, before and after buying it.
  2. Consumers should have access to expedient, inexpensive and efficient mechanisms for dispute resolution with financial institutions.
  3. Consumers should be able to receive financial education when and how they want it.

The paper is thus focused on results, that is, measurable improvements in the provision of financial services to households. As a consequence, it looks at what institutional structures are needed to achieve improvement in provision of financial services for consumers, but does not focus on issues of institutional design or capacity building.

A common challenge among the nine countries is the need of an adequate institutional structure for financial consumer protection.

All the country assessments used a systematic common approach, based on a set of Good Practices for Consumer Protection and Financial Literacy developed by the World Bank's Europe and Central Asia Region.