Anti-Trust Office Suspects Cartel Among Banks
The Slovak Anti-Trust Office (PMU) is looking into suspicions that banks in Slovakia could have established a kind of cartel agreement concerning fees and rates.
Suspicions about a potential cartel agreement were raised back in February following statements by finance minister Ivan Miklos that bank fees and loans in Slovakia were excessively high. Miklos made it clear at the time that his ministry would be working in close co-operation with the National Bank of Slovakia and the PMU to look into the issue more thoroughly.
The PMU then initiated an investigation, and although it would not reveal any specific information, it has confirmed that it is analysing the situation based on initial data from the NBS, the Ministry of Finance and the banks themselves.
Naturally, the banks deny the allegations, stating by way of the Slovak Banking Association that they had no problem with the investigation because no cartel agreement existed. Based on NBS data, banks in Slovakia upped their profit last year by almost 80% compared to the previous year, with 8.7% growth in net interest alone.