The First Vice President and Minister of Economic Affairs, Nadia Calviño, has commissioned the National Commission for Markets and Competition (CNMC) to analyze why banks do not raise deposits, despite the aggressive increases in official interest rates of the European Central Bank (ECB) to fight inflation.

The Euribor exceeds 4% for the first time since 2008


Calviño regrets that financial institutions are transferring the tightening of monetary policy to fight inflation more slowly than they should to their savings products, which hardly offer profitability to customers, let alone real profitability. In other words, the interest rates they offer are below inflation, which this month fell to 1.9%, but which is expected to end the year above 3% on average, after 2022 as a whole out to 8.4%.

For this reason, the economic vice president asks Competition to study what factors are failing in this market, as explained at the press conference after the quarterly meeting with employers’ associations and user associations of financial institutions and with the Bank of Spain.

A few days ago, the president of the CNMC, Cani Fernández, already expressed her astonishment that banks are not remunerating deposits. “It is hard for me to think that there is not a bank that wants to win customers if I (as a bank) dedicate myself to attracting deposits so that I can then lend money. It is hard for me to understand that they do not want to increase their market share, unless one sees placidly that the others do not either, ”she said.

On the other hand, the increases in the interest rates of the European Central Bank (ECB) are being transferred to the Euribor (the reference index for calculating mortgage payments), which has increased from 0% to 4% in less than a year. And, therefore, housing loans at variable interest rates that are updated are quickly becoming more expensive. And also those that change from variable to fixed interest rate. Or the new ones that are signed.

To stop the suffocation that this rise in mortgages represents for families, the Government signed a voluntary Code of Good Practices with the banks, with a view to 2023. This code recommended agreeing between the bank and the client on the free conversion of variable loans to fixed and the extension of the terms with freezing of quotas.

These measures were added to those already in place for the most vulnerable households, with low incomes. And, in total, 33,000 requests have been made for any of them, according to what Calviño herself revealed this Thursday. This is a very low figure compared to the million families with mortgages at variable interest rates that were intended to alleviate the “emergency bonus” recently proposed by Sumar.

The new proposal of the Ministry of Economic Affairs to the banks has been the extension in a maximum of three years of variable rate mortgages for the acquisition of a first home. Although he has admitted that both the employers of financial institutions and the Bank of Spain have rejected it and have summoned it to September to discuss new measures.

Finally, it has demanded a formula to definitively approve the Financial Client Defense Authority, which the call for general elections for July 23 left pending, since it was not possible to complete the entire legislative process.


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