RBM, CFTC partner to protect financial services consumers

Kulisewa makes a point during the surgeries

The Reserve Bank of Malawi and the Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) have partnered to protect consumers in the financial sector.

The two regulators have so far jointly conducted financial sector surgeries in Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Blantyre to sensitise players in the financial sector including commercial banks, insurance companies and micro financial institutions about their duties towards consumers. The surgeries were conducted from 25-29 September 2017.

Opening surgeries in Lilongwe, RBM chief examiner, Madalitso Chamba, underscored the importance of consumer protection in the sector.

“The principle of treating consumers fairly, means that financial institutions must pay due regard to the interests of the customers and not engage in unfair business practices,” said Chamba encouraging the  institutions to be transparent and fully disclose all the risks as well as rewards of their products.

Making his presentation, CFTC Director of Consumer Welfare and Education, Lewis Kulisewa said it is mandatory for financial service providers to provide consumers with true, adequate, clear and prompt information on the goods and services offered.

“Unfair contract terms, misrepresentation of financial services and deceptive advertising were common infringements of consumer protection laws in the financial sector. The Commission will impose fines and other relevant orders, in accordance with the law, to any financial service provider found causing consumer harm”, said Kulisewa.

A cross section of the particpants in Blantyre

He then appealed to participants to embrace the culture of voluntarily complying with consumer protection laws at all times as good corporate citizens.In August 2014, the CFTC signed a cooperation agreement with the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi and Registrar of Financial Institutions aimed at addressing potential overlaps between the functions of the three regulators.

The Commission has general powers to foster competition and fair trading under the CFTA while the RBM has specific powers in relation to the promotion of a sound financial structure and fostering highest standard of conduct, fair trading, efficiency and orderliness in the financial sector including payment systems.