PS12165 - Italian Competition Authority: investigation initiated against Intesa Sanpaolo for an alleged unfair commercial practice


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The Authority is scrutinising how the banking group marketed its fixed-rate and floating-rate real estate mortgage loans: the bank allegedly failed to provide consumers with clear information on the duration of the interest-only period

The Italian Competition Authority has initiated investigation proceedings against Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A. for allegedly adopting an unfair commercial practice that concerned the marketing of fixed-rate and floating-rate real estate mortgage loans for consumers.

According to the Authority, in the marketing phases of real estate loans, the banking group would not provide clear information on how to calculate the duration of the interest-only period, i.e. the time that elapses between the disbursement of the loan and the first instalment of the repayment plan, which can sometimes be a significant cost element.

In particular, it would appear that, without providing adequate information to the consumer in the various pre-contractual documents and the various preliminary phases, including advanced ones, leading up to the signing of the loan proposal, Intesa Sanpaolo makes use of a period of technical interest-only period, the duration of which is variable.

The credit institution does not seem to provide clear and adequate information on how to calculate the duration of this phase which, in essence, extends the loan repayment period and increases its cost.

Moreover, in the case of floating rates, the burden connected with the duration of the technical interest-only period also apparently adds to that of the applied rate, which would appear to be higher than the negotiated rate, with the bank allegedly failing to provide consumers with adequate information on its value in all the pre-contractual documentation, even when negotiations are at a very advanced stage.

Rome, 20 September 2022