Thursday 13 May 2021

Dutch banking association NVB raided in Brussels anti-trust probe

Photo: Europa.eu

The Dutch banking association NVB was among those raided by regulators from the European Commission last week on antitrust concerns, according to media reports.

The Commission has confirmed the unannounced inspections concerning access to bank account information by competing services in a ‘few’ countries, but did not specifically mention the Netherlands in its press statement.

The raids are part of an antitrust crackdown on lenders that block fintech rivals from gaining legitimate access to customer information, the Commission said.

However individual banks in the Netherlands have not yet been subject to queries, the Telegraaf reported on Monday. While both ABN Amro and Rabobank have confirmed this to the Financieele Dagblad, ING, which has extensive interests in Poland, would not comment, the FD said.

The offices of the Polish banking association were also among the offices visited by inspectors, according to the Financial Times.

Concerns

‘The Commission has concerns that the companies involved and/or the associations representing them may have engaged in anti-competitive practices in breach of EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices and/or abuse of dominant market positions,’ the Commission statement said.

‘These alleged anti-competitive practices are aimed at excluding non-bank owned providers of financial services by preventing them from gaining access to bank customers’ account data, despite the fact that the respective customers have given their consent to such access’.

The Commission officials were accompanied by their counterparts from the relevant national competition authorities.

The raids are unusual in that the Commission says banks must be prepared to share data with innovative payments and information systems by January while the law comes into effect only next June.

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