The National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) has detected “the existence of a series of actions that could violate competition regulations” in the concession by the bank of ICO Covid loans.
The body chaired by Cani Fernández explains in a statement that it is analyzing the cross product linking when marketing ICO Covid loans (among others, insurance, alarm services or the purchase of televisions); the use of said credits as a mechanism to restructure pre-existing financial products; just like him initial expenses payment by the beneficiaries of the credits, prior to the disbursement of the funds corresponding to the credits granted.
Competition explains that it investigates “whether said actions could constitute unfair behavior that, by distorting free competition, affects the public interest in a context of crisis derived from COVID-19 and, therefore, constitutes an infringement of Law 15/2007, of July 3, on the Defense of Competition “.
Most of the queries and complaints collected by Compentecia’s ‘Covid mailbox’ have to do with the financial sector
Near 750,000 companies Spanish companies have availed themselves of ICO Covid loans, more than 81 billion euros so far this year. The credits guaranteed by the State and managed by the Official Credit Institute have been one of the star measures promoted since Ministry of Economy to try to cushion the blow of the pandemic to the business of companies.
The CNMC began investigations into the granting of these loans during the months of confinement, to “centralize all complaints and inquiries from citizens and companies regarding the application of competition rules in the context of the pandemic.”
Most of the inquiries received by the ‘Covid mailbox‘created by Competition, have been generated by the financial sector. “As a result of the first inquiries received and various news published in the media, the CNMC initiated preliminary proceedings and carried out a series of information requests (…),” the agency indicates.
The CNMC indicates that it will continue making “the pertinent information requirements to financial entities that may be affected by such practices, with the aim of determining whether their actions are compatible with the competition rules.”