Spanish Competition Authority investigates four banks over government loans for Covid-19 coronavirus

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Pietro Lombardi

The Spanish antitrust authority is investigating Banco de Sabadell SA, Banco Santander SA, CaixaBank SA and Bankia for possible anti-competitive practices in marketing government loans to companies and freelancers to weather the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

CNMC said Wednesday that it is studying the terms and conditions that banks apply to such lines of credit, as well as the use of these loans to restructure preexisting debts.

“After the analysis, CNMC believes that the actions of the studied banks differ from the good faith required from companies in their relations with clients,” the ministry said.

Santander stated that he complies with the existing rules for such loans and respects the competition with his competitors in their marketing. According to a bank representative, the bank “did not make guaranteed ICO financing dependent on any product or service, nor did it impose the use of such financing to restructure pre-existing debts.”

CaixaBank, which acquired Bankia, and Sabadell declined to comment.

Email Pietro Lombardi at pietro.lombardi@wsj.com; @ pietrolombard10

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