Finance committee pushes back Sernac Financiero vote

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The finance committee of the lower house of Chile's congress has delayed its vote on the financial consumer protection agency, known as Sernac Financiero, by a week, a press release from congress reads.

Originally scheduled to be voted on in the first week of January, the motion was pushed back after committee chairman Gaston Von Muhlenbrock scheduled hearings with banking association ABIF, the association of misdemeanor courts - known as juzgados de policia local - and consumer association Conadecus.

After the hearings, ABIF general manager Alejandro Alarcon said, "What we need is to harmonize the protection of consumer rights with the stability of the financial system," adding that banking regulator SBIF was best-suited to deal with this issue.

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Conadecus chairman Hernan Calderon said SBIF did not safeguard financial consumers' rights and called for consumer protection agency Sernac to regulate, review and authorize all contracts between the financial system and its clients.

The committee chairman stressed that an asymmetry of information was evident and reform was needed to improve the relationship between consumers and financial agents. "Banks need consumers; therefore, we need to have balance among transparency, financial system stability and consumer protection," Von Muhlenbrock said.