Bank of Lithuania

The number of applications of consumers concerning housing loan agreements received by the Bank of Lithuania, which started investigating the disputes between consumers and financial market participants since the beginning of this year, was higher by one-fifth in the second quarter of the year, compared to the first quarter. Such claims comprised around one-third of total disputes with banks, which were submitted by consumers to the supervisory authority, the Bank of Lithuania, for resolution.

“Disputes related to housing loan agreements were initiated concerning the interest rates offered by banks (after the expiry of the fixed interest rate period), refusal of banks to amend loan terms and conditions and other aspects of agreement implementation. Disputes were also initiated concerning consumer credits granted by banks, payment cards and other financial services”, said Mr. Darius Andriukaitis, Head of the Consumer Protection and Education Division of the Supervision Service of the Bank of Lithuania.

In the second quarter of this year, the Bank of Lithuania received 148 applications concerning disputes with financial market participants (compared to 158 applications in the first quarter): 48 disputes referred to financial services provided by banks, 79 disputes were related to insurance, 21 disputes were initiated against other financial market participants (consumer credit lenders, credit unions, payment services providers).

In the second quarter, same as earlier, the largest number of claims in the disputes with insurance enterprises was submitted by consumers with regard to vehicle insurance.

“Almost all disputes related to insurance arose concerning the size of an insurance claim or decision of insurers to refuse the payment of insurance claims. Only in several cases disputes were related to recourse claims submitted by insurers”, said Mr. Andriukaitis.

In disputes with other financial market participants, the largest number of people submitted claims concerning consumer credits: most often, consumers did not agree with the size of debts according to consumer credit agreements.

When investigating disputes in the second quarter, the Bank of Lithuania took 7 decisions to satisfy the consumers’ claims in full or in part, while in 26 cases the consumers’ claims were recognised as unsubstantiated. Thirteen disputes between consumers and financial market participants were settled amicably.

Although the supervisory authority’s decisions concerning disputes have the nature of a recommendation, all market participants complied with the decisions of the Bank of Lithuania concerning disputes in the second quarter of this year.

In all cases, consumers have the right to address courts concerning disputes with financial market participants.

The number of applications, which could not be investigated at the Bank of Lithuania according to the current procedure (the dispute is or was investigated in the court, the dispute did not arose between a consumer and a service provider, the matter of the dispute was outside the competence of the Bank of Lithuania, etc.), was decreasing. The number of cases, when a consumer applied to the Bank of Lithuania without first presenting its claims to the financial service provider, as required, was also lower.

The latest statistical information about the investigation of disputes between consumers and financial institutions in the second quarter of 2012 is available on the website of the Bank of Lithuania.