On appeal, the Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (CBb) reversed a decision of the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) regarding a fine for providing excessive mortgage loans. The fine was imposed in 2009 on Postbank, and had been previously upheld by the Rotterdam District Court. It concerned an investigation into mortgage loans dating from 2007.
According to the CBb, Postbank complied with the then standards of the Code of Conduct for Mortgage Finance (Gedragscode Hypothecaire Financieringen or GHF), in spite of a review that had revealed deviations from the standard. The GHF was considered to be the self-regulation of the market in the field of the responsible provision of credit, and comprised, inter alia, standards aimed at determining the maximum borrowing capacity of consumers.
Contrary to what was considered by the AFM in its decisions, the CBb ruled that at the time the GHF also allowed credit providers to deviate from the method for calculating the maximum amount consumers were able to borrow on the basis of this code. The CBb is of the opinion that the AFM has not sufficiently demonstrated that the open standard against providing excessive loans had not been applied correctly.
Tightening of mortgage standards
The standards for providing mortgage loans have since been tightened. The self-regulating code was adjusted in 2011. It was agreed that there would be lower maximum mortgage loans and fewer exceptions to the Code. The standards were laid down on 1 January 2013 in the Ministerial regulation, which means they were laid down in law.
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