The Times of India, October 10, 2010

The G-20 should take concrete action to protect the interests of financial services consumers who have been badly hit by the recent downturn in the industry, an NGO working for social justice and economic equity said Saturday.

“In light of the global financial crisis and its results on developing countries like India, CUTS International is joining with Consumers International and other consumer organisations around the world in calling up on the G-20 to take urgent action to protect consumers of financial services,” Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) international secretary general Pradeep S. Mehta said in a statement.

Mehta has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to raise the issue at the G20 Summit at Seoul Nov 11-12.

“We appreciate you raising this issue with the G-20 counterparts and support the establishment of an expert group on financial consumers protection at the G-20 Summit in Seoul,” Mehta said in a letter to Manmohan Singh.

He pointed out that the global economy creates an estimated 150 million new consumers of financial services every year, mostly in developing countries, where consumer protection and financial literacy are still in their infancy.

“In a world where banks are highly interdependent, a banking crisis anywhere in the world will further undermine consumer confidence and could have unpredictable international consequences.”

The global dimension of financial services and the increasing interdependence of financial markets, as well as the common challenge of effectively regulating complex and fast-moving markets in financial consumer services, adds to the urgency for better regulation of such practices, he added.

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