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Press release of the Banco de Portugal on the 2020 Banking Conduct Supervision Report

The Banco de Portugal publishes today the Banking Conduct Supervision Report. The report summarises the activities undertaken by the Banco de Portugal to monitor retail banking markets in 2020.

The Banco de Portugal assessed compliance with the measures adopted in retail banking markets to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. Available data led to the conclusion that the credit moratoria contributed to prevent households’ default risk from materialising in 2020.

Take-up of moratoria was more substantial in April and May 2020. By the end of March 2021, the support measures provided in the moratoria covered 501,600 agreements and 383,800 debtors to an overall amount of credit of €41.851 billion. The share of loans covered by a moratorium of total loans was around 13.6% for households and 32% for firms.

To assess the obligations set out in the moratoria, the Banco de Portugal assessed the websites of 99 institutions as well as the information reported by 106 institutions on the automatic migration of agreements under private moratoria to the public moratorium. In 2020 and until March 2021, the Bank received 1,895 complaints from bank customers on matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following inspections, the Bank issued 284 specific orders to 100 institutions and launched ten administrative offence proceedings against seven institutions.  

In 2020 the Banco de Portugal assessed the institutions marketing basic bank accounts and the institutions that offer current accounts. The Banco de Portugal assessed the disclosure (104 institutions) and marketing (80 institutions) practices applied to basic bank accounts, compliance with the obligation to send the statement of fees (121 institutions) and the current account statement (104 institutions) and the provision of information on account switching (115 institutions).

The supervisor continued to pay close attention to how loans are sold through digital channels and, regarding home and mortgage loans, to the information provided to customers on the cost of credit. The Banco de Portugal issued recommendations on a number of best practices institutions should follow when offering retail banking products and services through digital channels and assessed 88 institutions for compliance with the practices adopted when offering consumer credit products through digital channels. The Bank also assessed the personal loans and car loans offered online by 18 credit institutions. In terms of home loans and mortgage credit, the Banco de Portugal evaluated the information provided by 103 credit institutions on credit cost measures (APRC and total amount payable by the consumer).

The Banco de Portugal monitored 11,487 advertising materials for banking products and services and institutional advertising, 18.6% more than in 2019. Of the advertising materials analysed following their public disclosure, 3.3% were non-compliant.

Bank customers submitted 19,660 complaints about matters the Banco de Portugal supervises, an 8.6% increase from 2019. The increase was driven by complaints regarding measures adopted in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Excluding these complaints, the number of complaints received would have decreased by 0.6%. No signs of breaches by the targeted institution were detected in around 61.1% of the complaints closed; in all other cases, the situation reported by the customer was resolved by the credit institution on its own initiative, or by order of the Banco de Portugal.

Following its supervision, the Banco de Portugal issued 3,025 specific orders and recommendations to 144 institutions and initiated 86 administrative offence proceedings against 25 institutions. 

Having completed the process of integrating credit intermediaries into the perimeter of banking conduct supervision, the Banco de Portugal received 562 new applications for authorisation to carry out this activity. At the end of 2020, there were 5,079 credit intermediaries registered in Portugal, 8.5% more than at the end of 2019. While supervising this activity, the Banco de Portugal assessed 74 advertisements and received 73 bank customer complaints. As a result, the Banco de Portugal issued 50 specific orders and initiated 22 administrative offence proceedings against credit intermediaries.