Enacted into law in 2022, Republic Act No. 11765 or the “Financial Products and Services Consumer Protection Act” (FCPA) aims to provide for efficient and effective consumer redress or complaints handling mechanisms such as mediation, conciliation, or other modes of alternative dispute resolution to address conflict/dissatisfaction from financial consumers arising from financial products or services.
In order to realize this policy, the law empowered the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to adjudicate actions arising from or in connection with financial transactions.
Pursuant to this grant of authority under the FCPA, the Monetary Board, on March 16, approved the Rules of Procedure for the Consumer Assistance Mechanism, Mediation, and Adjudication of Cases in the BSP to govern disputes between financial consumers and Bangko Sentral-Supervised Institutions (BSIs).
CONSUMER ASSISTANCE MECHANISMThe Rules provide for a two-level recourse Consumer Assistance Mechanism (CAM) to assist financial consumers in airing their grievances. The first-level involves the BSI’s Financial Consumer Protection Assistance Mechanism (FCPAM) for consumers who are dissatisfied with a financial product or service.
Financial consumers who are not satisfied with how the BSI handled their concerns, or whose concerns were not acted upon within a reasonable period shall facilitate the resolution of their issues to the BSP-CAM, through the Consumer Protection and Market Conduct Office (CPMCO), by submitting their complaint either personally or through the BSP Online Buddy Chatbot, postal mail, courier, electronic mail or other electronic means.
Recourse to the CAM is a condition precedent to both mediation and adjudication as complaints filed with the BSP must contain information and supporting documents showing that the complainant has previously availed of the BSI’s FCPAM.
MEDIATIONMediation is an intervention by which the BSP, through its duly authorized mediation officers, facilitates communication and negotiation between the parties, and assists them in reaching a mutually acceptable settlement.
Mediation may be commenced upon referral by the CPMCO of the financial consumer complaint to the Consumer Complaints Resolution Office (CCRO) or upon termination of the BSP-CAM, by submission to the CPMCO of a written request to undergo mediation.
ADJUDICATIONFinancial consumer complaints arising from, or in connection with, financial transactions that are purely civil in nature, and the claim or relief prayed for is solely for payment or reimbursement of a sum of money not exceeding P10 million in total exclusive of legal interest, attorney’s fees, and costs of suit shall be commenced by filing with the CCRO a Formal Complaint, accompanied by a Verification and Certification of Non-Forum Shopping, and supporting documents.
The proceedings before the BSP shall be summary and non-litigious in nature, and technical rules of procedure shall not apply. However, all affidavits of witnesses must comply with the Judicial Affidavit Rule. The Adjudicator shall not admit as evidence judicial affidavits that do not conform to the prescribed form under the Judicial Affidavit Rule.
The Formal Complaint may be filed personally or through registered mail or courier with the CCRO located at the BSP Head Office. If the Formal Complaint is sufficient in form and substance, the Adjudicator shall forthwith issue summons directing the respondent to submit a verified answer within a non-extendible period of 30 days from receipt.
Within 15 days from receipt of the answer, the Adjudicator shall issue a notice directing the parties or their representatives to appear in a Preliminary Conference. After the Preliminary Conference, the Adjudicator shall issue an order directing the parties to submit their respective position papers on a date set by the Adjudicator within 30 days from termination of the Preliminary Conference. Upon submission by the parties of their position papers or the lapse of the period to submit the same, the case shall be deemed submitted for decision. The Adjudicator shall render a decision within 60 days from the issuance of the order submitting the case for resolution, which may be extended upon good cause.
The decision shall be final and executory after the lapse of 10 days from receipt thereof by the parties, unless a motion for reconsideration is filed. The decision or resolution on the motion for reconsideration is not appealable to the Governor or to the Monetary Board. A second motion for reconsideration is not allowed.
After the decision or order becomes final and executory, the Adjudicator shall issue a Writ of Execution directing the Sheriff to enforce the decision or order.
The Rules are provided in Circular No. 1169, which was issued by the Monetary Board on March 24 this year and subsequently took effect on May 1.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. This article is for general informational and educational purposes only and not offered as and does not constitute legal advice or legal opinion.
Luke Morgan B. Codilla is an associate of the Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALAW), Davao Branch.