An Italian Experiment in Self-Regulation of Retail Banking: Reasons and Opportunities for a Joint Promotion of Industry Interest and General Interest
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The paper provides a description and preliminary evaluation of the Italian Banking Association’s (ABI) 2009-2013 Pattichiari initiative, a notable experiment in banking industry self-regulation. An original governance system, based on a committee of non-bankers endowed with a significant degree of independence from the industry, was established. It explored the organisational difficulties that arose in implementing a number of banks’ commitments, aimed at recognising effectively some basic customer rights, primarily the right to switch supplier. Moreover, it introduced and managed an evaluation system that could stimulate banks to overcome difficulties. The system could be effective by publishing bank ratings and influencing their reputation. The subsequent development of legislation and exogenous regulation took over the anticipated goals of self-regulation, yet the exercise was useful in organising their implementation, and the survival of the project could have been positive. The factors that caused the experiment’s drastic downsizing are explained.
keywordsSelf-regulation, Retail banking, Customer rights, Consumer associations.
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