The Competition Council started several inspections in Bucharest at the headquarters of the 10 banks that participate in the ROBOR calculation, as part of an investigation in which they suspect an agreement between these banks to set the interest rate at the highest possible level, sources close to the investigation told mass media on Tuesday.
According to these sources, the investigation started by the Competition Council is recent, but the preparations and analyzes are longer.
ROBOR is the index based on which rates are calculated for all loans with variable interest taken before May 2019.
The banks targeted by the control are Banca Transilvania, BCR, BRD-Societe Generale, ING Bank, Raiffeisen Bank, CEC Bank, UniCredit Bank, OTP Bank Romania, EximBank and Intesa Sanpaolo Romania. The investigation considers a possible agreement to fix interest rates.
Participating banks appoint specialized personnel, with appropriate training in the field of financial markets, in order to provide quotations for ROBOR calculation.For this activity, the banks ensure the decision-making independence of the personnel who contribute to any other entity in the bank, including the lending area. Participants in the ROBOR calculation have codes of conduct and have implemented internal controls dedicated to this activity.
About two months ago, BNR Governor Mugur Isărescu said, referring to the accelerated growth of ROBOR, that “the banks crossed the line”. A similar investigation was launched by the Competition Council in October 2008, after the BNR accused several banks of attacking the leu and imposed huge fines.