Maarten Pieter Schinkel in "Uw hypotheek als melkkoe" - Zembla, 14 September, 21.20 hours, Ned. 2
Since the Spring of 2009, mortgage rates in the Netherlands are consistently amongst the highest in Europe by a margin of 15-20% over the EMU-average and pre-financial crisis profits. In Zembla, Maarten Pieter Schinkel sets out how this can be explained by reduced competition in the Dutch mortgage market, greatly facilitated by the State aid conditions that the European Commission imposed on the Dutch banks. In particular were ING, ABN/Fortis and AEGON – three of the four largest players after Rabobank, which did not need State aid – put under a so-called price leadership ban. This condition prohibits banks that received aid from pricing below banks that did not. These price leadership bans were negotiated in the Spring of 2009. In the highly concentrated Dutch mortgage market, they effectively appointed Rabobank as must-follow price leader, which gave it the ability to raise prices. Together with Mark Dijkstra and Fleur Randag, Schinkel studied the effects of reduced competition. They find that Dutch homeowners with mortgage contracts that were (re)negotiated after May 2009 may have overpaid in total between 3.5 and 6 billion euros in raised interest. For an average household with a 250K variable rate mortgage, this could amount to roughly 1000 euro per year after taxes.