15.03.2016 | Estimated 3 minutes reading time | Print this article

Interview with Hana Frankova from the European Commission

Hana Frankova is a policy officer in the European Commission, in the unit dealing with Retail financial services and payments of the Directorate General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union. She joined the European Commission in 2009, after six years spent in private law practice.

Today we speak about Europe, digitalization and banking with Hana FRANKOVA from the European Commission.

A lot of young people grew up in a Europe without borders, studied abroad and are accustomed to using the internet for daily life. But up to now this generation is confronted with real borders regarding financial services like opening an account. Could you please explain why there are so many obstacles?

You are right, we in the European Commission deal with many complaints from citizens in the EU who can’t open current and saving accounts in other EU countries. This is why the Commission launched a broad public consultation on the Green paper on retail financial services to understand what problems people and firms (banks, intermediaries, etc.) have in the area of consumer finance and what reasons are behind them. For example, it may be that banks don’t accept customers from other countries because they worry they could not identify them at a distance in compliance with anti-money laundering rules. At the same time, technology is never a barrier and we need to take it into account from a regulatory perspective. We will look into this in detail.

Step-by-step our whole life will change. In what ways will the digital revolution change the traditional model of banking? What role will European fintechs play?

The market is being turned upside-down by the shift to digital technology. Indeed, the internet is the turning point which could give a boost to integration of the Single Market. Face-to-face sales now matter less than in the past, and it is getting easier to reach for customers and find the best deals across borders. The Commission is keen to look at ways how to meet challenges and opportunities of online technology, including ways to support innovative companies, that you call fintechs.

There is a green paper on retail financial services. Consumer, companies and organizations can send their contribution to the commission. What happens afterwards? What does the process look like?

The consultation is the first step of the Commission strategy to make EU retail markets work better for consumers and providers of financial services. Following an analysis of the responses, the Commission is likely to propose an Action Plan later this year with the aim to achieve a better integrated market for retail financial services in the EU. You can follow our Twitter campaign #MyMoneyEU up and running this year to inform about the developments after the consultation is closed.
In any case, I want to invite your readers to reply to our consultation survey by Friday 18 March at: http://ec.europa.eu/finance/consultations/2015/retail-financial-services/index_de.htm.