C. 10-13 th
El Salvador, June 6 , 2013.
CS and CPA jointly investigate interest rates raise The Competition Superintendence (CS) and the Consumer Protection Authority (CPA) announced today the joint work they will carry out after noticing an increase in the interest rates by some banks of the system. The Competition Superintendence will analyze the information provided by the CPA to determine the existence of elements of possible anticompetitive practices. â€œAn eventual horizontal agreement in the financial sector would gravely affect both the economy and the consumers, mainly those with bank loansâ€?, asserted Francisco Diaz Rodriguez, Competition Superintendent.
The Competition Superintendence received today a request for the Consumer Protection Authority to investigate if the recent asset interest rates raise for loans by some banks could provide elements of a possible commitment of anticompetitive practices. From the analysis of the information received and gathered internally, the CS has preliminarily detected the following: a) Seven banks (Banco Agricola, Citibank, Banco de America Central, Promerica, Davivienda, Scotiabank, Banco Azteca) and one loan and savings company (Sociedad de Ahorro y Credito Apoyo Integral) have increased the asset interest rates they offer.
b) Said increments have affected the asset interest rates, both nominal and effective, mainly in housing and consumption loans, and in credit cards. c) In most cases these increases are between 3 and 32 percent. The raises would have been carried out in March and May 2013 Pursuant to the aforementioned, the Competition Superintendence deems necessary to analyze with more detail the cause of these actions and consider, if to proceed or not with an ex-officio investigation in order to look for elements of a horizontal agreement. If the above cited investigation is begun, the Competition Superintendence will make this of public domain, as it does with all of its actions, once said agency has determined the economic agents involved and the committed practice. In accordance with the Competition Law (CL), the Competition Superintendence is empowered to investigate the conducts of economic agents that distort the marketÂ´s competition conditions; that is, to investigate possible anticompetitive practices forbidden by the CL. The investigations may begin through a complaint or ex-officio.