No evidence of mortgage price fixing, says competition body

There is no evidence that banks and insurance companies are keeping the cost of mortgages artificially high, the competition authority NMa said on Monday.

Since the NMa said it is formally investigating the mortgage market, margins have actually come down, the NMa said. ‘Nevertheless, we will continue to follow developments closely,’ acting chairman Henk Don said in a statement.
The competition authority began investigating the mortgage market last year. In a preliminary report in November, the organisation said there was enough evidence to merit a formal probe and that the costs banks pass on to customers had gone up compared to the situation in Belgium, Germany and France.
The final report shows that Dutch banks Rabobank, ING and ABN Amro control some 70% of the market and do charge higher interest rates than other players in the Netherlands. Nevertheless, foreign mortgage providers have broken into the Dutch market, offering greater choice to consumers, the NMa says.
In addition, the NMa says mortgage providers are late in telling customers that they have reached the end of a fixed interest rate period, giving them little time to look for an alternative.


Home owners association VEB and consumer organisation Consumentenbond criticised the NMa for not comparing interest rates in the Netherlands with surrounding countries.
They were prompted to make the original complaint to the NMa because mortgages in the Netherlands are so much more expensive.

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