Rami Daou

DBA Graduate - 2017

Thesis title

The Impact of Consumer Education on Consumer Protection: The Perception of the Lebanese Banking Consumer

Supervisor(s)

Rania Fakhoury

Head of Consumer Protection Section at the Banking Control Commission of Lebanon (BCCL) where he is responsible to ensure that banks and financial institutions are abiding by BDL circulars #124 & #134 in addition to BCC circualrs #273 & #281. He previously worked at the studies department where he was responsible to prepare studies related to Banks and Financial Institutions requests like licensing, branch openings, transfer of shares, issuing common and preferred shares, mergers and acquisitions, capital increases and reconstitutions of capital, etc…

He is heavily involved in proposing and drafting regulations related to consumer protection in the banking industry. Rami joined BCCL in 2008 as an account officer in the financial institutions department where he was responsible for offsite and onsite supervision, and engaged in written correspondence with financial institutions and the Governor’s Office. Rami have around two years of experience at Ernst & Young, and he has participated in several seminars and workshops in and outside Lebanon. He previously worked as director of public relations at the Arab Open University.

Rami founded an NGO named Financial Literacy Institute (FLI) with the objective of increasing financial literacy of citizens and to raising awareness of financial consumer protection.   

He is also a graduate of business administration from the American University of Beirut (AUB), he was elected in 2004 as president of the Communication Club at AUB and he holds a Masters’ Degree from the Notre Dame University (NDU).

Although the last financial crisis in 2008 increased the interest in financial consumer protection, research is still considered limited in this domain (Ardic, Ibrahim, & Mylenko, 2011). Consumers have lost their confidence in the financial and banking system through the hassle of underestimating risks, unethical conduct, and lack of clarity; in which they were the weak part in the loop and the mostly affected. The topic of financial consumer protection is on the agenda of many institutions like OECD, The World Bank, and other financial and banking regulators. For instance, OECD adopted in 2011 ten high-level principles to increase financial consumer protection and the World Bank also issued in 2012 the best practices in this domain. Financial and banking regulators were also asked to improve consumers’ financial literacy and to adopt it as a regulatory project (Williams, 2007) to empower consumers to make better decisions. This study aims to understand the mechanism influence of consumer education on consumer protection in the perception of the Lebanese banking consumer and to fill some gaps in literature that lacks studying consumers’ opinion about consumer protection and individual responsibility (Henry, Garbarino, & Voola, 2013), and also lacks examining the perception of financial system consumers toward achieving consumer protection (Polat & Alsaif, 2014), and how policy makers can design new policies to protect financial consumers (Bodie, 2013). To achieve this objective, literature review was conducted in order to show the need of consumer protection and education in the banking domain, to identify the key determinants of financial consumer protection and to build a research model and research hypothesis. An exploratory research was conducted were little is known in this area (Churchill & Iacobucci, 2005), especially in the Lebanese banking sector, before stepping into a quantitative study. The exploratory research took the form of a qualitative pilot study, in which face-to-face interviews were conducted with 33 Lebanese banking consumers. Results have shown that the Lebanese banking consumers were not able to identify what protects them and what are their rights especially in the banking context. The results have also confirmed the research model and its variables. Then a quantitative study was conducted to test the structural model that depicts the impact of consumer education on consumer protection, its set of hypotheses including mediating and moderating variables. The experimental fieldwork was conducted in Lebanon on a sample of 302 Lebanese banking consumers.