Simplicity and transparency in communications

The new rules on “Transparency of banking services and fairness of relationships” apply to all banking and financial transactions and services and to all customers.
The communication

They provide special protection for retail customers, i.e. consumers, individuals carrying out professional activities or craftsmanship, non-profit institutions, businesses with less than ten employees and an annual turnover not exceeding two million euro. Intesa Sanpaolo is taking steps to ascertain the client type and provide appropriate protection when signing a contract and to classify existing customers. When such classification is not available, Intesa Sanpaolo applies the maximum protection possible (all businesses are considered retail customers). The new rules for the protection of customers include:

  • clearer information of customers’ rights in the document “Main customers’ rights”1;
  • active use of Factsheets with updated information and more clearly intelligible drawn according to the directions laid out by the Bank of Italy;
  • adoption of practical guidelines for current accounts and mortgage loans contracts offered to consumers and access to out-of-court redress of disputes;  
  • the introduction of a synthetic product cost index for current accounts and credit lines for consumers, as well as for mortgages and consumer lending already provided (TAEG);
  • transmission of an annual summary of all expenses charged on the current account (as from 2010) to allow customers to assess if there are products that suit their needs better.

Factsheets available at Internet points in branches

From the end of 2009, a feature allowing banking transparency documents to be published online has been available, allowing the Bank’s branches to discontinue usinga paper factsheets archive. The Internet points located within the branches are user-friendly and allow Internet services to be accessed and the transparency and reporting documents to be printed, as well as serving as a means to educate customers. The current layout of the Internet points will be changed to make them accessible to impaired users and to increase privacy protection. The online publishing of Factsheets allows documents to be promptly updated across the whole network, non-stop availability of factsheets for customers, the reduction in the use of materials for updating paper documents (i.e. paper and toner).

Reporting to customers

The complete revamping of the statements for accounts, securities deposits and credit cards, in terms of both content and presentation, which was carried out last year was extended to new SuperFlash cards and savings accounts in 2009. The analysis of customer satisfaction surveys shows that satisfaction increased greatly during the period when the new bank statements were sent to our customers.2 In 2009, the new reporting has also led to significant work on the securities statement which informs all customers of their portfolio’s consistency with their risk profile.
Everyday more customers opt for the simple, convenient, secure and cost-effective Online Reporting, which allows customers to receive documentation and correspondence concerning their relationships with the Bank via remote channels and thereby to contribute to protecting the environment. Some products launched in 2009 were automatically paired to the online reporting, unless the customers expressly declined the option. The Online Reporting service allows customers to save up to 75% on the costs of sending documentation.

By activating the Online Reporting customers may also contribute to protecting the environment by preventing the waste of paper and the environmental costs of printing and transporting mail.

Environment


1
The rights concern the various products offered by the bank and the timing for sales in which the bank is bound to supply adequate literature and information.  Details of customers’ rights are available on the bank’s internet site.
2 The NIS (satisfaction index of the families segment) has grown from 48 in the survey during the first quarter of 2009 to 52 in the second quarter 2009.

Payment Services Directive – PSD

The PSD Directive 1  is the most significant legislative initiative issued by the European Union on payment services and introduces relevant changes for banks and customers in terms of:

  • improvement in the timing and implementation of payment services;
  • more information available to customers on payments and terms of service;
  • uniformity of rules in the European market.

After the introduction of the euro and the launch of the SEPA instruments, the directive gave new impetus to the creation of a single market for payments in Europe by increasing competition and focusing on consumers’ protection through a number of rules on transparency and certainty of timing in the execution of orders.Timelyness
PSD establishes that ongoing performance of payment service is regulated by a framework contract between the Bank and the customer, with a number of obligations on informing the customer, such as a breakdown of all expenses (including any costs for book entry) and any interest and exchange rates applied to each payment transaction.
Another change is the execution of payment within a short and pre-set time, generally within one working day following receipt of the order or within two working days if the order is a hard copy. Funds received must be credited to the beneficiary on the same day the Bank receives them. Although the Directive allows execution times to be extended by two days up until 1 January 2012, Intesa Sanpaolo has decided to apply the new terms that are more favourable to customers since the date the PSD in Italy came into force. Additionally, the Bank has brought some services into line with European legislation (International Bank Transfer and Single European Bank Transfer) even before the implementation of the Directive, applying the best terms in advance to its customers (currency and execution times).

1 Number 2007/64/CE (known as PSD – Payment Services Directive)

PattiChiari project

The implementation of the PattiChiari project (literally “Clear Pacts”) has seen the Intesa Sanpaolo Group banks that belong1 to the Consortium involved in the implementation of 26 Commitments to Quality (out of the 30 defined by the PattiChiari Consortium) and three voluntary initiatives. They are interbanking electronic tools and procedures that form a complex self-regulatory code of a customer-oriented banking system to arrive at a more efficient, transparent and competitive retail market. In particular, we aimed at simplifying the transferability of current accounts by means of on-line comparisons of all the offers of member banks, thereby facilitating the transfer of services from one bank to another. These tools not only meet the European guidelines on customer mobility, but improve on them.

In September 2009, CIB Bank signed the Code of Conduct for Hungarian banks which is part of a project launched by the Government to meet a need expressed by the citizens to improve relations with financial institutions. The Code, in place since December, is a voluntary commitment based on three fundamental principles: transparency, compliance and symmetry of information. In terms of transparency, the Bank commits to making financing terms clear and understandable to the public and to provide all necessary information. Banks must also comply with a series of defined and publically-known rules and must commit to not modifying the interest rates and fees when such changes are detrimental to the customer, while they are obliged to do so if the changes are to the customer’s advantage.

1 The Group’s banks belonging to the PattiChiari Consortium, the commitments for Quality taken, those yet to be undertaken and the optional initiatives are available on the internet site: www.pattichiari.com Web site