Finansinspektionen has invited several banks to a roundtable discussion on Friday, 20 May, on the right to open payment accounts. The background is that the number of complaints FI is receiving from consumers who are being denied a payment account is increasing. Some also have their accounts blocked or closed.
” Ultimately, this is about energy efficiency. Energy is a scarce resource, and as a society, we have invested heavily in energy-efficiency improvements across all sectors. We need to consider a similar technology shift for crypto-assets.”
The most common method for producing crypto-assets requires enormous amounts of electricity and generates large CO2 emissions. Crypto-asset producers are keen to use more renewable energy, and they are increasing their presence in the Nordic region. Sweden needs the renewable energy targeted by crypto-asset producers for the climate transition of our essential services, and increased use by miners threatens our ability to meet the Paris Agreement. Energy-intensive mining of crypto-assets should therefore be prohibited. This is the conclusion of the director generals of both the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.
Many consumer credit assessments need to improve to fulfil the requirements of the Consumer Credit Act. Finansinspektionen (FI) is therefore now clarifying what information lenders should gather for a credit assessment and how this information should be used. The new general guidelines will go into effect on 1 November 2021.
“The technology behind crypto-assets has the potential to create value for society, but crypto-assets like Bitcoin also pose significant risks,” said Erik Thedéen, when he spoke about the development of crypto-assets today at a seminar arranged by the Swedish Investor Relations Association.
Finansinspektionen would like to clarify the obligations of third-party payment service providers when gathering information about bank customers’ payment accounts via digital interfaces. FI has also contacted the banks and reminded them about their obligations as an account servicing payment service provider (ASPSP).
Think carefully before buying a financial product containing crypto-assets. The risks are significant and the protections for you as a consumer are weak, FI warns today.
FI conducted a thematic review of the market for financial instruments with crypto-assets as an underlying asset. FI is of the view that there is a lack of adequate consumer protection regulation for crypto-assets. Valuing them is also challenging and the instruments are volatile. This makes the products unsuitable for most, if not all, retail consumers.
The rate at which household debt is increasing has slowed the past three years. The two amortisation requirements that FI introduced contributed to this change. But the low interest rates entail risks. The debt of commercial real estate companies has been increasing sharply, and the banks have large exposures to the sector. FI decided today to raise the capital requirements for bank loans for commercial real estate. Erik Thedéen also noted that cyber threats are a challenge facing society as a whole, and cooperation is needed on a broad front.
Several banks are working to develop and enhance their information and cyber security. Some have not yet fully adapted their work to the changed conditions introduced by increased digitalisation and an increased level of cyber threats. FI expects that the banks will continue to focus on developing their information- and cyber security abilities, and keep managing and monitoring their information and cyber risks.
Finansinspektionen is responsible for macroprudential policy in Sweden, which includes both promoting financial stability and counteracting financial imbalances. We are also tasked with promoting a high level of consumer protection on the financial markets. One of the reasons that we have been given the responsibility for macroprudential policy is that financial crises have proven themselves to be very expensive.
FI is establishing a fintech innovation centre that will provide information to and maintain a dialogue with companies conducting innovation-based business. This centre and additional initiatives are presented in FI's report to the Government regarding an assignment.