• Credit institutions will be required to offer universal access to a basic consumer payment account
  • The depositary must give the new client a report on the commissions and update it annually
  • Companies with more than 500 workers must report social, environmental and anti-corruption issues
  • Listed corporations must report the diversity policy applied in the election of the board of directors

The Council of Ministers has approved two norms that suppose the transposition to the Spanish legal framework of two European directives. This is the Royal Decree-Law of Basic Payment Accounts and the Royal Decree-Law on the Disclosure of Non-Financial Information. The first Royal Decree-Law guarantees the universal right of access to a basic payment account, which must provide a series of services such as direct debit, use of cards or transfers. For all accounts, the standard facilitates the client's knowledge of the commissions he pays and the comparison in order to improve transparency. The second Royal Decree-Law requires large companies and business groups to report on social, diversity, environmental, respect for human rights and fight against corruption within the management report that accompanies the annual accounts.

The Royal Decree-Law (RDL) of Basic Payment Accounts, transfer of accounts and comparability of commissions transfers Directive 2014/92 / EU on these matters to Spanish legislation. The objective is to improve financial inclusion and strengthen the European market. For this, the universal right of access to a basic payment account is guaranteed, the transparency and comparability of the fees applied to the payment accounts is improved and the transfer of payment accounts is expedited. The basic payment account is a new banking product created by the European Directive, which will be denominated in euros and that will facilitate access to a number of services such as the opening, use and closing of the account, deposit of funds, withdrawal of cash at the entity or at ATMs, direct debit, use of debit or prepaid cards and transfers. These accounts will have a maximum commission set by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness.

Credit institutions may deny access to basic payment accounts in highly rated cases. For example, if the potential client does not provide the information required by the entity based on the level of risk of money laundering or terrorist financing as provided by national legislation or if its opening is contrary to the interests of national security or public order. It may also be denied when the customer already owns an account that allows the same services to be performed. The Ministry of Economy will establish through a ministerial order the maximum limit to apply in this type of accounts.

For all accounts in general, the RDL establishes the right to transfer to another entity or within it, an obligation that affects all payment service providers, not just credit institutions. The transfer will be carried out quickly, quickly and efficiently in a maximum period of 13 days. Payment service providers may deny the transfer of the balance of a payment account to those customers who have outstanding obligations in that account. In addition, it goes beyond the directive allowing consumers to cancel accounts in 24 hours. The exception is that the user had contracted with the payment service provider another financial product or service for whose management it is necessary to keep a payment account open with the payment service provider.

As for the commissions and also applicable to all accounts, the RDL establishes that the payment service providers will provide the client or potential client with an informative document of the commissions well in advance. In addition, they must provide you every year and free of charge, a statement of all commissions incurred for the services associated with a payment account. The Bank of Spain may establish the requirements that both documents must meet, which must be precise, brief and with a clear structure. You will have a free access website that allows you to compare the fees that payment service providers apply.

For its part, the Royal Decree-Law that transposes the Directive on the dissemination of non-financial information and on diversity modifies the Commercial Code and the consolidated text of the Capital Companies Law and the Accounts Audit Law. The objective is to increase the non-financial information of the management report that accompanies the individual and consolidated annual accounts in large companies regarding social, environmental, human resources, respect for human rights and the fight against corruption.

The information will refer to measures taken to promote gender equality, working conditions, social dialogue, respect for trade union rights, safety in the workplace and measures for dialogue and protection with local communities. Regarding environmental issues, companies will have to provide detailed information on the current and foreseeable effects of their activities on the environment, health and safety, energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and pollution atmospheric

With regard to human rights, the non-financial information statement should include information on the potential and actual impacts of the company's activity in this regard, as well as the provisions applied to prevent abuses and measures to mitigate, manage and repair them. In relation to the fight against corruption and bribery, companies must include information on internal control procedures and resources dedicated to preventing these behaviors.

These regulatory changes affect large companies with the consideration of a public interest entity whose average number of workers during the year is greater than 500 and that during two consecutive years meet at least two of the following circumstances: that the total of the items of the asset be more than 20 million euros, that the net amount of its annual turnover exceeds 40 million euros or that the average number of workers employed is greater than 250.

For listed companies, it is also required that they include, within the annual corporate governance report, the policies of diversity of competencies and points of view applied in the election of their board of directors; specifically, those related to age, gender, disability, training or professional experience.



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