One World UK, November 10, 2010

World’s consumer organisations sign open letter to G20 calling for financial protection for “real people”Consumers International (CI)[i], which represents 220 consumer organisations in 115 countries, urgently wants to see the needs of everyday consumers of financial services pushed to the top of the agenda at this week’s G20 summit. Consumer organisations from over 30 countries, including the G20 countries, have signed an open letter pressing the summit attendees to ensure that the worldwide financial crisis is never repeated.

Justin Macmullan, CI’s head of campaigns explains: “Many G20 members have sought to increase financial stability through the development of stress tests, improved independence of credit rating agencies and requirements to increase capital ratios. And yet, as a group, the G20 has done nothing to address consumer financial protection which – as exemplified by US sub-prime mortgages – was a key catalyst for the financial crisis.

“The interconnected nature of global banking means that people around the world will live with the consequences of this for years to come. And yet, each year the global economy creates up to 150 million new consumers of financial services, many of whom are in countries where consumer protection and financial literacy are woefully inadequate.

CI urgently wants to see the establishment of an Experts Group on Consumer Financial Protection which would help to ensure that consumers from both developed and developing nations have access to stable, fair and competitive financial services.

CI members around the world have been lobbying their own governments as well as the South Korean government to make sure that the interests of “real people” are not overlooked for the interests of big business.

Justin Macmullan concluded: “The time has come for the G20 world leaders to make a real commitment to protecting their citizens from abusive financial services industry practices which are not in the best interests of the consumer.

“International co-operation on financial consumer protection has the potential to deliver substantial savings for individual governments. This can be achieved through the co-ordination of research, the development of standards and guidelines, the sharing of best practice and the avoidance of costly crises.”

Notes to Editors:

[1] Consumers International (CI) is the only independent global campaigning voice for consumers. With over 220 member organisations in 115 countries, we are building a powerful international consumer movement to help protect and empower consumers everywhere.

Our member organisations have extensive experience of working in financial consumer services including the testing of financial products and services, the provision of financial education and information to consumers, as well as consumer representation and advocacy.

For more information, visit

CI wants the Experts Group on Consumer Financial Protection to create and recommend adoption by national governments of minimum standards relating to:

Fair contract terms and charges for financial products and services

Information design and disclosure on financial products

The governance and functions of national financial consumer protection bodies.

It should also make recommendations for:

The promotion of effective competition in markets for financial consumer services

The development of a permanent organisation for international standard setting and co-ordination with regard to financial consumer protection.

The signatories to CI’s open letter are:

Samuel Ochieng, President, Consumers International and Chief Executive, CIN, KENYA

James A Guest, Vice President, Consumers International and President and CEO, Consumers Union of U.S. Inc, U.S

Consumer organisations in G20 countries

Ricardo Nasio, President, PROCONSUMER, ARGENTINA

Beatriz Garcia Buitrago, President, Consumidores Argentinos, ARGENTINA

Nick Stace, Chief Executive, Choice, AUSTRALIA

Lisa Gunn, Executive Co-ordinator, IDEC, BRAZIL

Maria Ines Dolc, Institutional Coordinator, Proteste, BRAZIL

Michel Arnold, Executive Director, Option Consommateurs, CANADA

John Lawford, Counsel, PIAC, CANADA

Connie Lau, Chief Executive, Hong Kong Consumer Council, CHINA

Monique Goyens, Director General, BEUC – The European Consumers Organisation, EUROPEAN UNION

Reine-Claude Mader, President, CLCV, FRANCE

Alain Bazot, President, UFC-QUE Choisir?, FRANCE

Gerd Billen, President, Federation of German Consumer Organisations, GERMANY

Pradeep S Mehta, CUTS International, INDIA

Nirmala Desikan, Trustee, Consumers Association of INDIA

Sudaryatmo, SH, Charirman, Yayasan Lembarga Konsumen, INDONESIA

Luisa Crisigiovanni, Director of Altroconsuomo, ITALY

Maite Cortes Garcia Lozano, Colectivo Ecologista Jalisco, MEXICO

Alejandro Calvillo Unna, Executive Director, El Poder del Consumidor, MEXICO

Peter Shelisch, Chairman of the Consumers Union of RUSSIA

Mr Dmitriy Yanin, Director of the Confederation of Consumer Associations of RUSSIA

Dr. Mohammad A. Al Hamad, Chairman of the Executive Board, President of the Consumer Protection Association, SAUDI ARABIA

Thami Bolani, Chairman, National Consumer Forum, SOUTH AFRICA

Jaiok Kim, President, Consumers Korea, SOUTH KOREA

Ali Cetin, President, Federation of Consumer Organisations, TURKEY

Peter Vicary-Smith, Which? UK

Non-G20 countries invited to attend the summit

John Kapito, Executive Director, Consumers Association of MALAWI

Francisco Sanchez Legran, President, FACUA – Consumers in Action, SPAIN

Jose Maria Mugica Flores, Director General, OCU, SPAIN

Ana Isabel Ceballo Sierra, President, Asociación General de Consumidores, ASGECO Confederación, SPAIN

Do Gia Phan, Vice President, Vietnam Standard and Consumers Association, VIETNAM

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