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The ban on commissions is not an obstruction to helping clients with payment problems

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Times are getting harder financially for households partly as a result of the poor economic conditions. This is increasingly leading to mortgage arrears and repayment difficulties. The AFM has previously called on providers to actively approach clients with payment problems. The AFM also observes that providers like to take the initiative to find a solution. This is in the interest of both the client and of the bank.

The AFM frequently receives questions from providers who are confronted with the question whether as a result of the ban on commission they have to send clients with payment problems an invoice for the advice they provide in this connection. The ban on commissions is considered to be a major obstacle to helping clients and to finding a suitable solution.

The AFM emphasises that the law does not require that providers send households with payment problems or with specific, imminent payment problems an invoice. It is important for these clients to sit down with them to gain more insight into their financial position and to see whether there are options for changing the mortgage, income or expenditure, so that there is some room to breathe. Providers or mediators can talk about these matters with their client without sending them an invoice. In principle these activities take place within the context of management.

It is the generally the case for provides that activities within the context of management do not fall under the ban on commissions. If advice is focused on forming an agreement, such no longer constitutes management and the provider is obliged to invoice the client. This applies, according to the AFM, in any event if the advice focuses on changing the product composition. This is often not necessary to resolve payment problems or specific, imminent payment as regards a mortgage.

If it is nevertheless necessary to conclude a new agreement, the AFM takes the position that the necessary activities need not be charged. Such is evidently not in the interest of the client nor is it realistic to send an invoice in these types of problematic situations. The AFM will monitor the effects of the ban on commissions during the management phase of current agreements and, if necessary in consultation with the market, deal with undesirable situations.

The AFM promotes fairness and transparency within financial markets. We are the independent supervisory authority for the savings, lending, investment and insurance markets. We promote the fair and conscientious provision of financial services to consumers and private investors, as well as professional and semi-professional parties. We supervise the fair and efficient operation of the capital markets. Our aim is to improve consumers’ and companies' confidence in the financial markets, both in the Netherlands and abroad. In performing this task, the AFM contributes to the stability of the financial system, the economy and the reputation and prosperity 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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