MP Rolando Brison.
~ Expected in Parliament in 8 to 10 weeks ~
PHILIPSBURG--Member of Parliament (MP) Rolando Brison’s draft Consumer Banking Protection Law is currently being edited to ensure that it complies with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) laws, and is expected to be in Parliament for debate in an estimated eight to ten weeks, Brison said.
The law is to eventually establish legislation to prevent the banking sector from infringing on the rights of every citizen and businessperson in St. Maarten, Brison had said in an earlier press statement on the proposal.
After editing, the draft is expected to be submitted to Social Economic Council SER and the Council of Advice. Brison told The Daily Herald it would also be sent to St. Maarten Bankers Association.
The MP is expected to meet with a number of stakeholders on the draft, including banks, St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA), St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry (COCI), Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten and St. Maarten Insurance Association.
Brison had said earlier that banks are acting against the Constitution of St. Maarten and depriving residents of their rights with ever-changing regulations or application procedures and said residents needed safeguards against banks.
He had said at the time that the Consumer Banking Protection Law would be anchored in four main components. The first is that everyone has the right to a bank account to manage his or her financial responsibilities. The second component is that banks will be obligated to inform customers adequately about changes and fee increases.
The third component will be the establishment of a Consumer Finance and Banking Bureau. This, which Brison described as an “Ombudsman for banks,” will be a place where people can go free of charge if they have any issue with a bank, and the bureau will have the power to intercede on persons’ behalf.
The last component of the would-be law is that a bank will not be able to terminate its relationship with a client without going through certain procedures. The point is to make banks more responsible in the way they try to end banking relationships.