WSBI/ESBG members enjoy a long history of socially responsible banking. Although their
organisational structure differs from country to country, they share important values in their
business policy, which are embedded in the three “Rs”:
The following is an extract from the WSBI/ESBG Charter for Responsible Business on the principle of fair and clear relations with customers:
“In order to build and maintain a long-term relationship of confidence with customers, WSBI/ESBG member savings and retail banks:Provide clear and honest information on products and services and other terms and conditions of use
Advertise responsibly and ensure the visibility of information on products and services both in the branches and on Internet sites
Provide advice that meets the needs of customers and promote products and services that are appropriate to their personal circumstances and risk profile
Consider all cases of financial difficulty sympathetically
Inform and communicate with customers and deal with customer complaints quickly and efficientlyIn this context, the principle of fair and clear relations with customers is defined as providing clear, transparent and understandable information and advice to enable customers to assess whether the proposed product or service is appropriate to their personal circumstances and risk profile. Such measures can be enhanced by initiatives to promote financial education and literacy as well as financial inclusion measures.
It is widely recognised that a good customer relations policy based on concepts such as
transparency, personalised advice, trust, attention to customers in difficult financial
circumstances, rapid response to customer requests, etc. are key elements to secure customer satisfaction and confidence and to establishing and maintaining a long-term relationship with
Accordingly the WSBI/ESBG Guidance on Fair and Clear Relations with Customers outlines the importance of a Customer Policy that is transposed over all areas of the business and
communicated actively internally and externally by a financial institution. It draws inspiration
from the experience and best practice in a number of the European members of WSBI/ESBG.
The Guidance is non-binding and can be implemented in various ways depending on the organisation of the financial institutions and the culture and working methods in any particular
WSBI/ESBG are convinced that a good Customer Policy based on fair and clear relations with customers is a very important tool for building trust and confidence with customers and the
general public and establishing a long-term mutually beneficial banking relationship. This isparticularly important in the aftermath of the recent economic and financial crisis, when the trust
and confidence of the general public in the banking sector is low in many countries.
Such a policy combined with an overall responsible approach to doing business is part of the
tradition of the “stakeholder” model of WSBI/ESBG members and should be a win-win
proposition for them and their customers, particularly in these difficult times.