European Legal Committee for Consumer Rights


Following the Swiss Franc Loans Conference in Cyprus, a meeting of delegates, on 6th December 2014, established a committee to continue the work of the defending victims of foreign currency loans.

 

The committee was named:         European Legal Committee for Consumer Rights.

 


EUROPEAN

Scope of the committee

People: The committee will deal with consumers who are natural persons, in their private capacity and not with companies, however small, nor communes or other local authorities. Thus, such bodies are out of scope, even though they are trading or operating as consumers of financial products and not as financial traders. (This is to clarify a legal distinction required in Poland and elsewhere).

BANKING

Contracts: The organisation will deal with (a) loans with unfair clauses such as abusive fees, foreign currency denomination, floating interest rates; (b) investment instruments which are unfair to the consumer, such as worthless or junk bonds.


The committee is an unincorporated association based in England according to the laws of England and Wales.

REFORM

Aims

The committee aims, amongst other purposes, to promote the following:

  1. To protect European citizens against predatory selling of foreign currency loans to consumers.
  2. To regulate and assimilate banking activities across Europe.
  3. To establish a European wide banking regulator with power to give legal directives to financial institutions.
  4. Strengthening of EU Directives to make them enforceable.
  5. Lodging complaints to European Commission for breach of EU law.
  6. Assisting consumers to bring proceedings in their own country without the need to satisfy jurisdictional arguments at court nor go to another country.
  7. To establish a committee of the European Parliament to deal with fair practices for consumers relating to “bank products” as e.g. mortgages, loans, foreign currency transactions, investment funds units [add to list]. Citizens to have full access to this committee.
  8. Set up a European Ombudsman to receive complaints and facilitate enforcement of consumer rights.
  9. Education of the public (consumers, decision makers) concerning “bank products”.
  10. Contact with the media and inform the public about the activities undertaken, the pressure of public opinion

Note: It is envisaged that these provisions will extend to the whole European Economic Area and to EU candidate countries (via their duty to incorporate the acquis communitaire) and that the non-EU countries will have participant or observer status at the relevant institutions. Non-candidate European countries will also be involved so far as applicable.


Announcement: Swiss National Bank discontinues minimum exchange rate

15 Jan 2015
The Swiss National Bank (SNB), which is the central bank of Switzerland, is today discontinuing the minimum exchange rate of 1.20 Swiss Francs to 1 Euro. The bank says that minimum exchange rate was introduced during a period of exceptional overvaluation of the Swiss franc and an extremely high level of uncertainty on the financial markets. This exceptional and temporary measure protected the Swiss economy from serious harm. While the Swiss franc is still high, the overvaluation has decreased as a whole since the introduction of the minimum exchange rate. Recently, divergences between the monetary policies of the major currency areas have increased significantly – a trend that is likely to become even more pronounced. The euro has depreciated considerably against the US dollar and this, in turn, has caused the Swiss franc to weaken against the US dollar. In these circumstances, the SNB concluded that enforcing and maintaining the minimum exchange rate for the Swiss franc against the euro, introduced in September 2011, is no longer justified.


Following the announcement the Swiss Franc exchange rate soared in value against the Euro reaching 0.81 Euros to the Swiss Franc, but fell later in the day to virtual parity with the Euro.


Chair of the committee Dr. K. Alexander says that will hit hundreds of thousands of borrowers across Europe, who will now find that their debt in terms of their own currency has massively increased. In many cases the banks have not even obtained swiss francs, but are simply using a formula to increase the amount the bank customer has to pay.


 

For further information, telephone the

European Legal Committee for Consumer Rights on

 +44   20 7263 6445  or

 +357   99128467

or email :

CHF@european-banking-reform.org