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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Amendments in mortgage loan agreements - decision of the President of UOKiK

< previous | next > 06.10.2020

Amendments in mortgage loan agreements - decision of the President of UOKiK
  • Banks may not unilaterally amend important terms and conditions of mortgage loan agreements, e.g. methods of determining currency exchange rates.
  • President of UOKiK, Tomasz Chróstny, imposed a fine of over 1.2 million PLN on Raiffeisen Bank International.

President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny issued a decision on unilateral amendment of the terms and conditions of mortgage loan agreements indexed and denominated mainly to the Swiss franc by Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI). In 2016, it introduced arbitrarily new procedures to calculate foreign currency buy and sell rates - it referred the borrowers to Reuters service, adding the "Bank's Margin Index". The President of UOKiK has found such amendments to be a practice that violates collective consumer interests.

“The rules of calculating the exchange rates that determine the amount of debt and the amount of individual instalments paid by borrowers are a very important element of a mortgage loan agreement. Such provisions may not be amended unilaterally in agreements concluded for a definite period of time in which consumers are indebted. Consumers who did not agree to the amendments could have theoretically terminated the agreement, but this would have meant the need to immediately repay the entire debt. The choice was therefore purely fictitious, and the bank used its dominant position to impose its conditions,” says Tomasz Chróstny, President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.

Material terms and conditions of fixed-term contracts under which consumers may become indebted may only be amended following a voluntary agreement between the bank and the consumer. If the customer would not agree to them, the contract should be performed under the existing conditions.

It is worth adding that Raiffeisen Bank International referred to - questioned by the President of UOKiK - unilateral clarification of the provisions of the rules of procedure before common courts, in disputes with Swiss franc borrowers. This was aimed at convincing the courts and consumers of the alleged " rectification" of the unclear rules of setting exchange rates by the bank according to which the installment to be paid in Polish zlotys is calculated. Such provisions are considered unlawful - the President of UOKiK  has presented such a position, inter alia, in a reasoned opinion on indexation clauses and recently he has fined 3 banks for such practices. The clause proceedings against RBI are pending. However, entrepreneurs may not arbitrarily specify or amend, in the course of the performance of the contract, provisions considered prohibited. The Court of Justice of the EU has spoken out on this subject on several occasions.

President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny imposed over PLN 1.2 million (PLN 1,224,498) fine on Raiffeisen Bank International. Once the decision becomes final, the bank must inform consumers about the decision of the President of the Office and its implications.

Consumer support:

Phone: +48 801 440 220 or +48 22 290 89 16 – consumer helpline
e-mail: [SCODE]cG9yYWR5QGRsYWtvbnN1bWVudG93LnBs[ECODE]
Consumer ombudsmen – in your town or district

Attached files

 

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