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Oversight

Banco de Portugal oversees the conduct of credit institutions, financial companies, payment institutions, electronic money institutions and credit intermediaries 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 | 2016-2017

Number
2016

Number
2017

Entities covered
2016

Entities covered
2017

Systematic oversight

Price lists (leaflets of fees and interest rates)

1222

1090

102

96

Advertising campaigns

8572

9501

59

55

Information leaflets on indexed and dual deposits

197

145

12

12

Remuneration rates of indexed and dual deposits

223

187

13

15

Consumer credit contracts

1 582 788

1 601 050

56

56

Inspections

Of branches

132

147

22

31

Of central services

66

95

12

16

Off-site

612

632

105

126

Complaints

14 141

15 282

84

77

Via institutions' complaints books

7060

7652

61

49

Via other means

7081

7630

73

73

Correction of irregularities and sanctioning

Recommendations and specific orders

1020

753

73

59

Administrative proceedings initiated (a)

155

55

29

21

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 key information documents on structured 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 on the branches and central services of the entities subject to its supervision. 

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, electronic money institutions and credit intermediaries 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.

 

Correction of irregularities and application of penalties

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, electronic money institutions and credit intermediaries 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, electronic money institutions and credit intermediaries 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;
  • 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.