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AFM: room for improvement in the information on websites concerning consumer credit

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The information concerning consumer credit on the websites of providers and brokers of consumer credit has to improve. This is evident from an investigation performed by the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) into the information concerning 74 credit products on 45 different websites. One or more shortcomings were observed on 39 websites. The most frequent shortcomings concerned credit tables that were not included correctly or not placed correctly and the lack of a reference to the availability of standard information.

The investigation was performed at the initiative of the European Commission and performed simultaneously in other European countries. It was assessed whether the information on websites advertising consumer credit complies with the applicable regulations. It appeared from the investigation performed by the 27 participating countries plus Norway and Iceland that only 30 percent of 562 assessed websites complied with the regulations.

The regulations pertaining to consumer credit have been significantly harmonised within Europe in recent years. The Consumer Credit Directive was embedded in Dutch legislation as well in May 2011. The Directive has been in force for some time in the other participating countries as well. The investigation was performed at the end of September 2011.

Similarly to the other countries, the AFM checked whether the websites do not advertise consumer credit in a misleading manner. It was also checked whether the credit table was included accurately and correctly in the credit advertisements that mention a debit interest rate or other data concerning the costs of credit.

All market parties where shortcomings were observed have been informed thereof in writing with the request that they check their website (and other information) and adjust it where necessary. The AFM expects confirmation of the changes that have been implemented from the notified parties by 20 January 2012 at the latest.

The AFM promotes fairness and transparency within financial markets. We are the independent supervisory authority for the savings, lending, investment and insurance markets. The AFM promotes the conscientious provision of financial services to consumers and supervises the honest and efficient operation of the capital markets. Our aim is to improve consumers’ and the business sector’s confidence in the financial markets, both in the Netherlands and abroad. In performing this task the AFM contributes to the prosperity and economic reputation of the Netherlands.

The AFM is committed to promoting fair and transparent financial markets.

As an independent market conduct authority, we contribute to a sustainable financial system and prosperity in the Netherlands.

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