The Ukrainian Association of FinTech and Innovation Companies (UAFIC) has been awarded a grant of USD 100,000 by the USAID Financial Sector Transformation Project to create a national mediation platform, FinSkarga, for handling financial consumer complaints. The goal of this project is to establish an online voluntary mechanism for settling complaints in the financial market. Consumers will be able to register complaints on the system, these will be delivered to the cooperating financial institutions, and the responses will be tracked and monitored for resolution. This will be the first independent platform in Ukraine that will allow individuals to resolve their disputes with financial services providers quickly, free of charge, and without applying to the regulator or the court.
Ukrainians tend not to complain about the financial services they receive. A national survey of financial literacy commissioned by the USAID Financial Sector Transformation Project indicated that many Ukrainians have complaints against financial services providers (banks, finance companies) but simply accept this as a fact of life. Moreover, 45% of consumers do not even know whom to complain to, or where to apply for the protection of their rights. Courts are viewed as an expensive and slow alternative for dispute resolution with financial institutions.
"We are working to create a platform that will allow consumers to communicate their problems about financial services to banks and finance companies. The platform will be a convenient and easy-to-use way to resolve disputes through communication and mediation. We believe that it will help increase the overall level of financial literacy and public confidence in the financial sector. It will also help financial services providers identify weaknesses in their products or procedures, and help them to improve their services. And last but not least, the mediation platform will lessen the load on the regulators and judiciary," said Rostyslav Dyuk, Board Chairman of the Ukrainian Association of Fintech and Innovation Companies.
In addition to receiving, monitoring and analyzing consumer complaints, FinSkarga, may serve as a mediator, providing both parties to a dispute with an opportunity to access counselling assistance on certain issues and to reach agreement. With the help of this platform, the UAFIC will also conduct studies to identify the main reasons for consumer complaints when receiving and using financial services.
"Financial consumer rights protection is one of our top priorities. We believe that the FinSkarga project will assist all market players and contribute to the financial well-being of Ukrainians. We are pleased to see the private financial community supporting this initiative, and we hope it will lead to improvements in the lending environment in Ukraine," emphasized Robert Bond, Chief of Party for the USAID Financial Sector Transformation Project.
The service will be available on any application subject to Internet connection.
The platform will be pilot tested in August 2020, and its official launch is scheduled for the beginning of October 2020.