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June 19, 2024

BSP takes a step forward in protecting financial consumers with new rules

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has released a circular outlining its procedures for mediating and adjudicating complaints from financial consumers, as mandated by the Financial Products and Services Consumer Protection Act (FCPA).

Effective May 1, 2023, Circular No. 1169, or the “Rules of Procedure for the Consumer Assistance Mechanism, Mediation and Adjudication of Cases in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas,” will govern the BSP’s handling of disputes involving amounts not exceeding P10 million.

According to BSP Governor Felipe M. Medalla, the new rules demonstrate the central bank’s commitment to enforcing the FCPA’s pro-consumer provisions.

Under the new circular, the BSP must address complaints within 30 days, including replies and rejoinders.

If a complaint escalates to mediation and adjudication, the mediation proceedings will be conducted virtually or through online video conferencing using the BSP’s designated platform.

However, complainants who prefer in-person or face-to-face mediation may make a request to the mediator.

Mediation, as defined in the circular, is a voluntary and confidential process that involves the BSP’s duly authorized mediation officers facilitating communication and negotiation between the parties. The mediation period is set at 30 days, although the parties may agree to extend it for meritorious reasons.

Adjudication proceedings, on the other hand, will be conducted in-person or face-to-face, unless the BSP permits virtual or online hearings in appropriate cases.

The BSP emphasized that these proceedings would be summary and non-litigious in nature and that technical rules of procedure in courts of law would not apply.