ECRI Newsletter Nº 57, Summer 2018

Published in: 
Beverly Sawyers, Martin Schmalzried, Nabil Hbali, Mark Bannon, Giorgio Cusmà Lorenzo

Consumer finance in the digital era
Based on its independence and objective approach, ECRI is maintaining a strong voice on the key topic of consumer finance. In particular, we are enlarging our network of partners and deepening our expertise on key issues related to consumer finance. Through Task Forces and research projects, ECRI is playing a growing role in providing the European institutions with relevant findings in relation to the various EU policy agendas touching on retail finance. At the moment, the main dossiers covered are monetary policies, household macroeconomics and several key pieces of legislation, including PSD2, CCD, MCD, MIF, GDPR, PAD and eIDAS.

A Task Force was successfully completed in June 2018 on the best policy mix to ensure the cybersecurity of financial firms (the report can be found here). The main findings are being presented to different organisations, including the DG FISMA in the European Commission, and to participants in large external conferences. Another Task Force is expected to start in the last quarter of this year on “Macro-prudential and consumer protection: Two sides of the same coin?”, with a focus on over-indebtedness with respect to consumer credit and housing loans.

Several ECRI research projects have been recently completed or are near completion on topics as diverse as the digitalisation of retail banks, the rules governing dynamic currency conversion, the new consumer credit Directive, data protection, financial inclusion, the drivers and remedies of consumer over-indebtedness, and the latest macroeconomic trends in relation to consumer finance. These topics are also regularly debated in conferences or workshops organised by ECRI.

An especially successful conference, co-organised with CEPS and ECMI on June 7 th , was the Fintech Day. The primary objective of this all-day event was to foster a lively and informed debate on the policy agendas related to the GDPR, which recently became operational, the draft ePrivacy Regulation, MiFID, the eIDAS and the PSD2. This Newsletter highlights the main issues debated during the Fintech Day and the presents the points of view of key stakeholders.

As regards data protection, Nabil Hbali from Ingenico emphasises that proper compliance with GDPR and future privacy laws will require extensive technological change. Beverly Sawyers from American Express admits that in the short term the GDPR might impede certain innovations, but in the medium to long term, it should provide a foundation of trust for consumers and thereby drive innovation in this sphere. In the view of Martin Schmalzried of COFACE, not all innovations are necessarily positive, and the renewed focus on privacy and data protection should inspire additional thinking in this area.

More specifically on cybersecurity, Mark Bannon and Deborah Porret from Zurich Insurance analyse the different needs to spur cyber insurance, in particular regarding information sharing, taxonomy, attribution and responsibility, and state-backed insurance schemes. Finally, Giorgio Lorenzo Cusmà from Intesa Sanpaolo defines the main objectives for developing reinforced cybersecurity strategies, with a focus on the necessary harmonisation in regulatory requirements and the generalisation of the principles of collaboration, coordination and good communication at all levels, from the strategic vision to concrete interactions.