Sunday, 7 March 2010

Financial services in Asia

World Consumer Rights Day WCRD (WCRD) 2010 is nearly upon us! Following the recent focus on Africa, Consumers International (CI) is now putting the spotlight on financial services in Asia in Our money, our rights: the evolution of financial services in Asia

Despite the many innovations in financial services to have emerged from this part of the world, many poor yet 'bankable' consumers in Asian countries still go without access. In the last of a series of examinations into financial services provision to consumers across the world, this briefing explores the issues, both current and future, around achieving universal access in Asia. Download the pdf for more.

Just like their counterparts around the world, CI member organisations across the Asia-Pacific region will be taking action to highlight WCRD 2010. Here is a selection of the activities being planned:

  • Consumer Federation Tamilnadu (CONFET) held a one-day event around the theme of 'Our money, our rights'. Various representatives of the Tamil Nadu State Government were were among the 500 participants. The event also included children from various schools, carrying placards displaying the WCRD slogan. A public rally also took place.
  • The Network for Consumer Protection in Pakistan is organising a seminar in collaboration with the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI). An advisor to the Minister of Finance will speak about consumer protection. The network are also preparing an op-ed piece for the Daily Dawn media group.
  • Hong Kong Consumer Council (HKCC), China will be publishing a survey on banking services, with an emphasis on young consumers. Expert advice on personal financial management, also aimed at young people, will be published in the Council's CHOICE magazine. A press conference will also be held on 15 March 2010.
  • Consumers Association of India (CAI) will hold a public meeting around the theme of financial security for elderly consumers. They will be highlighting a recent commitment from the National Housing Bank, a subsidiary of the Government's Reserve Bank of India, to provide loans to retired servicemen of the Indian Defence Forces to help them purchase housing.
  • Macau Consumer Council (CCM), China, will be publishing the results of a comprehensive survey on fees and charges of retail banks in their monthly magazine. CCM will also release a 'checklist' on insurance for consumers.
  • Consumer Association of Singapore (CASE) will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with CCM (see above). Under the MOU, both organisations will mutally recognise the accreditations they provide to businesses that operate in Singapore and Macau. The organisations will also cooperate on cross-border consumer dispute resolution and product testing. CASE are also organising a crossword puzzle competition to raise consumer awareness of consumer protection issues.
  • Consumer Council of Fiji (CCF) intends to bring together representatives from the banking industry, regulatory authorities, consumers and other stakeholders to discuss how to ensure fairer banking services for consumers in Fiji.

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