Puerto Rico Bankers Association testifies during Civil Code hearing
SAN JUAN – While at a hearing held by the Puerto Rico House Judiciary Committee Monday, the Puerto Rico Bankers Association supported the changes made in the proposed Civil Code to turn insurance and banking into special laws.
“We recognize the hard work of the Committee in the drafting and consideration of a new code that governs our civil actions, and that is why we are here, to support this movement and that Puerto Rico can enjoy a Civil Code that is current, that is in agreement with the present, but even more, that looks toward the future. That, although time goes by, is a cutting-edge code and is a code that reflects the needs of the future,” the executive vice president of the association, Zoimé Álvarez Rubio, said in written testimony during the analysis of House Bill 1645, which seeks to establish a new civil code.
In addition, she recommended that several points regarding contracts be amended within the proposed code to maintain openness to the freedom of contracting that, according to the organization, is central to business.
Álvarez Rubio indicated that restrictions “may affect elements of contracting in the banking business,” and suggested that all language be removed from the document in which it could be understood that one of the parties enters into a contract at a disadvantage, since it would not offer a uniform environment for business on the island.
For his part, attorney Ernesto Mayoral, also on behalf of the association, said there currently is sufficient protection in the law for contracting parties.
Committee Chairwoman María Milagros Charbonier Laureano said the objective of the changes was “to expand the rights of consumers” in banking. “We are trying to create a balance between what both parties are demanding, especially for the clients under adhesion contracts that have brought so much controversy,” in reference to standard form contracts in which the terms and conditions are set by only one of the parties.