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Santander Bank Polska becomes a co-founder and signatory of the Declaration of Responsible Selling

The Declaration of Responsible Selling is a project initiated by financial institutions and its owner is the Consumers’ Federation. The project goals are to promote and raise ethical standards in relationships with customers, educate the business and consumers, increase the trust in the financial industry and prevent unfair practices. It is the first example of cooperation between institutions which want to improve the quality of banking services. The Declaration’s founders include ANG Spółdzielnia, Santander Bank Polska and BNP Paribas Bank Polska. The project auditor is KPMG.

One of the biggest challenges which the financial industry and the entire business sector in general are facing at the moment is responsible selling i.e. selling fair-priced products which the customers really need, understand and which they can afford. Financial institutions have a very special role in our lives so they should exercise particular care to make sure they act in the best interest of the customer. And that is exactly the aim of the Responsible Selling Declaration.

Artur Nowak-Gocławski, CEO of ANG Spółdzielnia.

Partnership for Better Standards

The aspirations of the Declaration founders have been to increase the positive impact of the financial sector on the environment and build stronger relationships with consumers and the business in order to provide better services to the society and support the economy. Financial products and services supplied by the sector institutions are essential to every human being. That is why it is so important to make sure that the entire sales process is transparent, all doubts and uncertainties are clarified  and special needs of vulnerable population groups are catered for. Financial institutions should also take care about relationships after closing the purchase transaction e.g. assure safe use of the products or service and handle all complaints quickly and effectively. Regardless of the stage, banks should also be interested in educating the general public in the area of finance management and banking products. Other important goals are to prevent unfair practices and quickly address or instances of identified misconduct.

The activities of financial institutions are much more than regular, commercial business operations. The bank is a public trust institution and, as such, has a  special obligation to conduct its business in an ethical way. That is why, it is so important for Santander Bank Polska to launch and join all initiatives aimed at enhancement of the industry standards. We need not only standards  developed at the international level, such as the UNEP FI Responsible Banking Principles of which we are a co-founder and signatory, but also  standards responding to varied and changing needs of different consumers and the business. And self-regulation is the most suitable instrument for that. Therefore, acting jointly with important market partners, we have initiated the Declaration of Responsible Selling. We are proud to be one of the first members of this collaborative effort on the Polish financial market.

Michał Gajewski, CEO of Santander Bank Polska

The self-regulations set out in the Responsible Selling Declaration are intended to promote and raise ethical standards in relationships with customers, support an open and honest dialogue of the business with customers, educate the business and retail clients, increase the trust in the financial sector and improve its image and serve as a reference for maintaining the highest standards in the area of finance.

Every Financial Institution Can Become a Signatory

The Declaration can be signed by any financial institution except for an entity for which a legal warning has been issued by the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF), the Competition and Consumer Protection Office (UOKiK) or another competent authority. Institutions interested in becoming members of the Declaration should in the first place contact the Consumers’ Federation. The next step is to undergo a preaudit conducted by an independent auditor (KPMG). The decision on admission of a new Signatory is made by the Declaration Council based on the audit results.

Each company which signs the Declaration of Responsible Selling will have to renew it every 12 months by undergoing annual audits. If the audit result is negative or an institution refuses to undergo an audit, the right to use the Declaration logo is revoked.

The market of financial services is complex and difficult for consumers. Lengthy agreements, complex calculations and quickly evolving, increasingly complicated products – all that means that customers have to rely on financial institutions to be particularly honest and responsible. The Consumers; Federation has welcomed the idea of the Responsible Selling Declaration and has decided to offer support to the initiative through our extensive experience in consumer affairs  and an independent perspective on the subject of products and services offered to consumers by financial institutions. We hope that working together with the financial sector entities we will jointly develop standards that banks, insurance companies, financial brokers  and many other institutions will endorse in order to act responsibly not because they have but because they want to. It is our intention to create an open platform that every financial institution meeting our high standards will be able to join.

Kamil Pluskwa-Dąbrowski, Head of the Consumers’ Federation.

  • For more information about the principles laid down in the Declaration of Responsible Selling, the obligations of the Signatories and useful information for institutions planning to join the initiatives, please visit the website at