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Oversight

Banco de Portugal oversees the conduct of credit institutions, financial companies, payment institutions and electronic money institutions in the retail banking markets through the systematic oversight of the information reported by the institutions, inspection activity and the analysis of complaints presented by customers.

Whenever Banco de Portugal detects irregular situations or non-compliance, it orders their correction. Banco de Portugal may also sanction the institutions through administrative proceedings.


Supervisory activity | 2014-2015

Number
2014

Number
2015

Entities covered
2014

Entities covered
2015

Systematic oversight

Price lists (leaflets of fees and interest rates)

1332

1228

95

102

Advertising campaigns

6556

7603

54

62

Information leaflets on indexed and dual deposits

219

260

12

17

Remuneration rates of indexed and dual deposits

131

187

12

12

Consumer credit contracts

1 377 184

1 475 993

55

55

Inspections

Of branches

465

467

22

35

Of central services

31

23

8

9

Off-site

372

525

96

86

Complaints

14 157

13 487

77

79

Via institutions' complaints books

6088

6268

51

47

Via other means

8069

7219

73

73

Correction of irregularities and sanctioning

Recommendations and specific orders

770

1034

75

62

Administrative proceedings initiated (a)

64

215

25

45

Note: (a) Some administrative proceedings were initiated for multiple breaches.


Systematic oversight

Banco de Portugal systematically oversees the information that supervised institutions are required to report. Among other activities, the Bank:

  • Analyses the credit institutions' price lists, including the implementation of the changes to the legal framework in force that affect the setting of fees for banking products and services;
  • Oversees compliance with information duties in credit institutions' advertising, after the launch of each campaign, irrespective of the media chosen (TV, radio, press, outdoor, PoS, internet, leaflets, letters and emails, among others);
  • Checks conformity of information leaflets on indexed and dual deposits before their offering for sale and of the respective advertising;
  • Assesses compliance with interest rates caps in new consumer credit contracts.

Inspections

Banco de Portugal carries out inspections of institutions' branches and central services. 

It also carries out off-site inspections, using information reported by the institutions or available on their websites. 

 

Complaints

Banco de Portugal analyses the complaints that bank customers present against the credit institutions, financial companies, payment institutions and electronic money institutions about bank deposits, housing loans, consumer credit, other credit to individuals and companies, payment services and electronic money.

The complaints may be presented through the complaints book that institutions are required to provide in their branches or directly to Banco de Portugal, namely through the Bank Customer Website.

All the complaints entered into the complaints books of the institutions supervised are sent to Banco de Portugal, irrespective of topic. The complaints falling outside the remit of Banco de Portugal are subsequently forwarded to the Portuguese Securities Market Commission (Comissão do Mercado de Valores Mobiliários – CMVM) and the Insurance and Pension Funds Supervisory Authority (Autoridade de Supervisão de Seguros e Fundos de Pensões – ASF), according to their respective competence areas. 

Banco de Portugal orders the supervised institutions to correct any irregularities found. Banco de Portugal may also sanction the institutions through administrative proceedings, applying fines and additional penalties.

Make a complaint

Banco de Portugal analyses the complaints presented by customers against credit institutions, financial companies, payment institutions and electronic money institutions about retail banking products and services.

Who can complain?

The customer, whether a natural or legal person, may exercise the right to complain by means of a formal complaint, whenever the institution is deemed to have acted inappropriately, either when entering into or during the life of a contract, or when resorting to any banking service.

How are complaints made?

Complaints may be presented directly to Banco de Portugal or through the institutions' complaints book.

All credit institutions, financial companies, payment institutions and electronic money institutions are obliged to make the complaints book available to their customers.

The complaints entered into the institutions' books are then submitted to Banco de Portugal for analysis, irrespective of topic. Banco de Portugal subsequently forwards to the Portuguese Securities Market Commission or the Insurance and Pension Funds Supervisory Authority the complaints that relate to their respective competence areas.

Which complaints are handled by Banco de Portugal?

Banco de Portugal analyses all complaints against the supervised institutions written in the respective complaints books or that are directly presented to it and that regard topics within its remit.

Thus, Banco de Portugal may only pronounce on complaints regarding the offering of bank deposit accounts, housing loans, consumer credit, other credit to individuals and companies, payment services or electronic money.

Banco de Portugal is not empowered to assess complaints regarding:

 

  • Other financial products, even those sold in branches of the supervised institutions:
    • For topics regarding investment funds and securities, the Portuguese Securities Market Commission is the competent authority;
    • For topics regarding insurance and pension funds, the Portuguese Insurance and Pension Funds Supervisory Authority is the competent authority.
  • The politeness of the supervised institutions' customer service;
  • Access conditions at the premises of the institutions open to the public or other aspects relating to Decree-Law No 163/2006 of 8 August 2006. In this case, it becomes a matter for the respective local council;
  • Issues of an exclusively contractual nature or situations in which the customer has suffered damages. In the case of disputes where no agreement is reached, the intervention of judicial or arbitral powers is needed;
  • Consultancy and credit intermediation entities;
  • Pawnshops (i.e. offering credit collateralised by goods – usually gold, silver or jewellery).
What happens when non-compliance is detected?

Banco de Portugal requires credit institutions to correct irregularities detected and sanctions serious breaches, applying fines and additional penalties.  

In most complaints, Banco de Portugal's intervention is sufficient to eliminate or reimburse the loss suffered by the customer.

However, where there is the need to compensate for damages, the level must be set by a third party. 

Banco de Portugal is not empowered to order the compensation for damages suffered by the bank customer.

The sanction applied by Banco de Portugal to the institution in the case of serious breach is a fine penalising the institution, but this does not compensate any loss suffered by the customer. 

Compensation for damages may be claimed through the courts or through out-of-court settlement.