The mission of the Association of Financial Companies in Poland is to determine high standards for business conduct in all relations with customers and business partners. It is also to supervise the adherence of financial companies to these regulations therby to create and confirm a statement that those enterprises are institutions of public trust.
The Association of Financial Companies in Poland (ZPF) has been set up in 1999 to represent the Polish credit intermediation trade. The key persons behind ZPF’s creation were Mariusz Łukasiewicz, CEO of Lukas Bank, Sylwester Cacek, CEO of Dominet Bank and prof. Wojciech Żurawik, CEO of PKO TF.
Since the year 2000 ZPF has been an active participant of the regulatory process, being consulted on issues crucial for the retailfinancial services industry. In 2005 the scope of the industries that ZPF represents has been widened and it now speaks for several areas of the financial services market including the consumer finance banking sector, credit intermediation, financial advisory, economic information exchange, insurance and debt collection and management.
In cooperation with one of the most recognised business ethics experts – prof. Wojciech Gasparski – KPF initiated the creation and implementation of an ethics code – The Principles of Good Practice. Rules laid down in this document have set new business standards for credit intermediation, debt collection and economic information exchange, thus improving the level of services and increasing trust among market players.
Bussiness ethics play a major role in ZPF’s activities. Setting up an Ethics Commission and implementing an ethics program are two key elements of creating amd maintaining fruitful relations with stakeholders responsible for protecting consumer rights in Poland.
Another of ZPF’s vital focus points is education. It triggered the idea of launching a publishing cycle – the Library of Consumer Finance Congress – which already includes a number of important publications and is a platform for publishing personal finance guides for consumers. It is also used as means form promoting workshops and conferences, which form an important part of a dialogue with Polish consumer organisations. One example is the Consumer Finance Congress, which throughout its 6 editions was attended by over 1.400 participants and 200 speakers.
For over six years ZPF has represented Poland’s financial services trade in one of the most recognised European trade organisations – EUROFINAS – a federation which brings together 18 member associations from different EU member states and as such represents over 1.200 financial services institutions across Europe.
Joining ZPF gives financial services companies:
- a chance to participate in and influence the lawmaking process in order to create regulations which better suit the needs of financial services enterprises,
- up-to-date information about legal initiatives in poland and the EU,
- the ability to cosult regulations which aim at adjusting Polish law to EU standards,
- a possibility to present the company’s positions before authorities governing the Polish financial market (ie. Ministry of Finance, Polish Financial Services Authoty),
- better access to consumer finance market information and data,
- access to ZPF’s consultation documents and position papers on issues vital for the retail financial services industry,
- possibility to participate in ZPF’s educational initiatives such as workshops and conferences,
- a platform for developing you company’s goodwill through supporting ZPF’s ethical program and relations with consumer protection authorities and consumer organisations,
- a chance to set business conduct standards of the Polish financial service industry.
How to become a Member?
To become a Member of ZPF you need to be an enterprise set in Poland which conducts its business mainly on the consumer credit provision and intermediation market or provides sevices directly linked to providing credit such as banking services, financial planning, debt collection and management, economic and credit information exchange or insurance.
A company intending to become a member of ZPF has to provide:
- membership declaration confirmed by two existing ZPF members,
- completed membership survey,
- set of up-to-date registration documents which confirm conducting business within the outlined market scope and indicating the lagal form of the enterprise (a company of the company’s registartion documents, statistical office registration and income tax registration).
ZPF’s ethics program is built around the association’s Mission Statement defined in the Principales of Good Practices. The Statement assumes setting the highest standards of business conduct and observing their obedience by financial services companies. So defined the programe consists of numerous actions belonging to several areas.
ZPF’s Office creates an annual statement of the tasks completed within the ethics program. The statement is published to draw stakeholders’ attention to the issues of business ethics and good practices as well as to confirm the opinion of ZPF and its members being entities of public trust.
DOWNLOAD: Principles of Good Practices ZPF 2017
The ethics audit is an annually conducted procedure of verifying the conformity of ZPF’s members’ business activity with the rules put down in the Principles of Good Practice (PGP). When joining ZPF every member company has to sign a declaration of adhering to the standards set in the PGP.
The audit is based on completing questionnaires which represent the four books of the PGP:
– General Principles
– Principles of Good Practice in Selling Credit Products
– Good Practices in Debt Collection
– Good Practices in Economic Information Bureaus
Every member company completes a questionnaire adequate to its trade. The completed questionnaires are assessed by the Ethics Audit Working Group which is composed of representatives of member companies. Based on the Working Group’s recommendations ZPF’s statutory body, the ethics Commission, awards certificates confirming that a given company has conducted the audit and obeys the rules set in the PGP.
The Ethics Commision
The Ethics Commission has been constituted in June 2005 by ZPF’s members General Meeting. The Commission is elected for a biennial term of office.
The second term has begun in June 2011. Currently the Commission is composed of 12 people. Its main task is to observe the obedience of the Principles of Good Practises by ZPF’s member companies. It also issues opinions on different cases, documents (such as the Canon of Good Practices of the Financial Market) and publications (such as consumer lending guides) created by or in cooperation with ZPF. The Commission is also responsible for the content of many different ZPF’s ethics documents. It also serves consumers by resolving consumers’ complaints on ZPF members’ breaches of the PGP.
Eurofinas, the European Federation of Finance House Associations, is the voice of the specialised consumer credit providers in Europe.
Its members are essentially finance houses, specialised banks, captive finance companies for cars, equipment, etc. manufacturers and universal banks.
It is estimated that together Eurofinas members financed over 328 billion euros worth of new loans in 2011 with outstandings reaching 821 billion euros at the end of the year. Companies represented through Eurofinas employ some 93,000 individuals.
Eurofinas is composed of 17 members in 17 countries. The countries represented are:
Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
The mission of Eurofinas is to represent and promote the interests of its members at European level as the natural voice of the specialized consumer credit providers in Europe.
To achieve this, Eurofinas:
- represents the specialized consumer credit industry vis-a -vis the European institutions and other international bodies as a fair and reliable partner and a contact point for key stakeholders;
- informs its members of all European and/or international developments that may impact their industry;
- develops and defends industry positions that are supported by technical research and expertise;
- produces detailed statistics on consumer credit in order to i) explain who the Federation represents and its importance in the economy and ii) assess the current state of the market, identify trends and facilitate benchmarking;
- provides its members with a platform to (i) exchange views and best practices; (ii) network and (iii) meet relevant third parties (EU officials, experts, etc).
Eurofinas is a member of the European Banking Industry Committee (EBIC) and of the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)