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Απόφαση ιταλικής Επ. Ανταγωνισμού για τράπεζες

on . Posted in Δελτία Τύπου

 

Σας αποστέλλουμε για την ενημέρωσή σας και των αναγνωστών σας στην Αγγλική (λόγω του επείγοντος του θέματος) την πρώτη απόφαση από Επιτροπή Ανταγωνισμού (Ιταλία) με θέματα σύγκρουσης συμφερόντων των τραπεζών και διαφάνειας στο τραπεζικό κύκλωμα μετά την πρόσφατη κρίση.

 

The Italian Antitrust Authority considers that the regulation of governance in banks and insurance
companies are essential and urgent in order to restore faith in the system. Public measures to support banks should go hand in hand with regulatory steps to bring about radical changes in governance, making the role of the foundations more transparent and reforming the listed "popular" banks.

This opinion of the Italian Antitrust Authority is expressed in a report sent to the Government, the Parliament, the Bank of Italy and to Consob. It also points out the need for clarifications in the new regulations on home loans and the introduction of a summary indicator of the overall cost of borrowing and maximum overdraft commissions.

Measures on corporate governance

A first set of regulatory interventions should be addressed to the basic structure of the banking/financial system, eliminating conflicts of roles/functions and guaranteeing transparency in the role of shareholders or financiers with respect to the businesses being financed. In the interest of clarity and in order to reduce the incidence of interlinked shareholdings, consideration should be given to introducing regulations to lower the threshold of 2% above which significant holdings must be declared. According to the Antitrust Authority there is also need for a radical revision of the rules on independent directors.

More transparent foundations

The Authority considers it necessary to undertake regulatory steps, with regard to the foundations: their
stabilizing role, especially in the present circumstances, should necessarily be balanced with a new way of doing business. The foundations should clarify the decisionmaking processes employed in exercising their voting rights in companies where they have a stake and should define the criteria used in selecting candidates for management committees.

The Authority considers, as indispensable, that the appointments to governance positions in the foundations and the management of their assets should be governed by objective transparent criteria. Transparency as to the asset management criteria and the making available of full and complete information are factors that should be the subject of regulatory intervention, perhaps by industry.

Reform of the listed publicly-owned banks
("Banche Popolari")
In the Authority's opinion, regulatory intervention is also needed in order to update the current legal regime which risks becoming merely a means for avoiding changes intended to make the shareholding and governance arrangements more efficient. The various bills before Parliament may be a useful starting point for a timely regulatory intervention.

Ensuring easy comparability of home loans

The current crisis and the need to avoid a contraction in the availability of credit justify the regulatory measures adopted by the Government and Parliament. However, it would seem that new rules are needed in the matter of mortgages (e.g. re-negotiation/portability) so as to permit customers to compare the different options with ease and to choose the one that is most competitive in terms of price (i.e. with the lowest interest rate). This is relevant in providing incentives for a true competitive dynamic in the home loan market, to be achieved through active supply and demand, based on the portability of home loans and/or their spontaneous re-negotiation, thus avoiding distortions of the spread.

Summary cost indicator for overdrawn customers

In the Authority's view, a clear single summary indicator should be also introduced to bring together the different cost items that are chargeable to an overdrawn customer. The latter would thus have a clear and immediate perception of the overall cost of the banking service which would enable him to compare the various offerings on the market and would allow rates to be compared with those considered usurious. This is a crucial aspect of transparency that does not seem to be spelled out in the text of the new regulations. So, a legislative clarification is needed to state precisely and definitively the criteria for
calculating what a usurious rate of interest is.

Regulatory steps are also needed to specify a summary indicator of all the cost items payable by the end consumer including any commission on maximum overdraft. In the context of competition rules, it would seem this measure is necessary not only for the end customer/consumer but also for customers that are small and medium businesses. On this point the Authority calls for correction of the current regulatory flaw which, as far as improper commercial practices are concerned, does not allow it to protect small and medium-sized companies.

Αθήνα, 5 Μαρτίου 2009

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