Crisis, never again! Responsible lending and financial education on the European agenda

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Wednesday, 14 October, 2009 - 09:00
CEPS - Centre for European Policy Studies 1 Place du Congrès / Congresplein 1000 Brussels

 On 14 October 2009 ECRI hosted a major conference on the topic of financial education and responsible lending. In the wake of the financial cirisis as well as in the context of a new European Parliament and a newly appointed Commission, stakeholders were invited to participate in this ECRI conference and to discuss with the assembled speakers the lessons learned, the future challenges faced and possible actions to be taken in the field of responsible lending and borrowing.

One of the main questions discussed was if regulatory action is feasible and necessary. What is the role of the industry in financial education? How effective are educational practices? Just how much and what information do consumers need?

The conference was co-sponsored by Intrum Justitia.

To download the minutes of the conference, click here.

Click here to download the programme.


Urban Karlström is the State Secretary for Financial Markets and Institutions of the Swedish Finance Ministry. Previously he has held other high-level positions in government offices for road and transport research and safety. In the late 1980s he was chief economist at Sweden's National Debt Office and later served as an expert in the Finance Ministry. He has a long record of government committee work, notably in the fields of transportation, public economy and government office organisation. Mr Karlström holds a Ph.D. in economics from the Stockholm School of Economics where he also taught.

David Shirreff is Britain business and finance correspondent at The Economist. He joined the magazine in 2001 as Capital Markets Editor and spent five years from 2003 to 2008 in Germany, covering business and finance. In 2004 he published "Dealing with Financial Risk", which highlights the growth of complex financial products. Shirreff has a degree in English from Oriel College, Oxford. He began his career as a journalist in Turkey and worked at the Middle East Economic Digest in London before joining Euromoney in 1981. He has also worked at The Wall Street Journal and has written for various other financial magazines.


Bruno Lévesque joined the staff of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2007 as Principal Administrator, Financial Education in the Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs. He had previously been with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada since its creation in 2001, where he was Acting Director, for Public Affairs and Consumer Education. Mr. Lévesque's career with the Canadian federal government has spanned over 13 years, during which time he held various positions with the Department of Finance, Heritage Canada, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the Federal Office of Regional Development and Statistics Canada. He received a B.A. degree in Economics from the University of Sherbrooke and Pierre-Mendes-France University, in Grenoble, France. Mr. Lévesque also earned an M.A. in Economics from the University of Sherbrooke.

Mick McAteer is an influential, independent consumer advocate. He is founder and Director of the Financial Inclusion Centre, a UK based not-for-profit think tank whose mission is to promote efficient and accountable financial markets and access to fair and affordable financial services. He is a non-executive Director of the Pensions Advisory Service and a member of the Financial Reporting Council's (FRC) Professional Oversight Board, which oversees the regulation of actuaries, accountants and auditors. He represents consumers at EU level on a number of key issues and is a member of the European Commission's Financial Users Panel (FINUSE) and the Consultative Panels of the Committee of European Insurance and Occupational Pension Supervisors (CEIOPS) and Committee of European Banking Supervisors (CEBS).


Since December 2006, Noel Cramer has served as Regional Head of Consumer Lending at Citibank, with responsibilities covering more than 20 countries in Europe and the Middle East. Prior to this, he has been Head of Citi Business Development for Western Europe in which role he has developed and launched several Citi Consumer Bank franchises in Western Europe. Up to 2005, he was Member of the Citibank Belgium Management Committee and Marketing Director for Citibank Belgium. In these roles he developed Citibank's Belgium consumer lending business to become the national market leader and acquired extensive experience in consumer value propositions and credit risk management. His interests and expertise include consumer lending, international financial services and consumer data intelligence and its use in devising a "mathematical marketing approach". On the latter topic, he is regularly invited to be a speaker at marketing seminars and a guest lecturer at various management schools.

Eric Ducoulombier is Deputy Head of Unit dealing with Payments Systems, Consumer Policy and Retail Financial Services at DG Markt in the European Commission. Born in 1962, Eric Ducoulombier studied European law at the University of Lille. He joined the European Commission in 1992 after having worked several years in a Brussels law firm. At the European Commission, his unit is in charge of developing an EU policy for retail financial services, including provisions covering mortgage credit and the single euro payments area (SEPA).

Beat Koch is the Director of Service Offerings at Intrum Justitia Group, where he is responsible for the sales excellence initiative and development of new service offerings. He studied law at Zurich University and obtained an MBA from Newport University. After his studies he worked for Zurich Financial Services as project leader for international projects. In 1995 he joined SIX Group, a Swiss based infrastructure service provider to the financial service industry. He has held CEO positions in the UK, Ireland, Germany, France and Japan within SIX Group. At the beginning of 2008, he joined Intrum Justitia as Director of Customer Marketing for the GAS Region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland). In August 2009, he moved to his current function.

Dirk Staudenmayer is the Head of Unit for Financial Services and Redress, DG Health and Consumers at the European Commission. The main areas of his unit's work include the Directives on Consumer Credit and Distance Marketing of Financial Services and collective consumer redress, e.g. the Injunctions Directive and alternative dispute resolution. Before his appointment as Head of Unit in 2003, he was the assistant to the Director General of DG Health and Consumers, and has also worked in different units of the same Directorate. Mr Staudenmayer is a graduate of the law school at the University of Erlangen, Germany, and completed post-graduate studies in EC law at the Centre Européen Universitaire, Nancy, France. He wrote his doctoral thesis on EC competition law at the University of Bonn.

Manfred Westphal is head of the financial services department at the Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (VZBV), the federation of German consumer organizations. From 1993-2001, he was head of the financial services unit at AgV, a German consumer organisation. After completing legal studies in Bonn in 1986, he worked as a lawyer from 1987 to 1990. From 1991 to 1992, he worked in the Department of Foreign Affairs. He serves on several EU-level committees, including the Financial Services Consumer Group of the European Commission (DG Sanco, DG Internal Market) and the Consultative Panel of the Committee of European Banking Supervisors. From 2004 to 2008, he was Vice-Chairman of FIN-USE, a forum of consumer and SME-oriented experts advising the European Commission concerning financial services. He was also member of the Financial Services Experts Panel of the ECON Committee of the European Parliament.


Arlene McCarthy is Member of the European Parliament and Vice Chair of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee. Prior to the 2009 elections she was the Chair of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, which drafted the Parliament's "resolution on protecting the consumer: improving consumer education and awareness on credit and finance" that was adopted in November 2008.

Conference organized by Maria Gerhardt and Marc Rothemund