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Report: OTP Bank Romania ordered to return €200M interest charges to clients

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Report: OTP Bank Romania ordered to return €200M interest charges to clients

Romania's National Authority for Consumers Protection imposed a 160,000 Romanian lei fine on OTP Bank România SA for transferring a loan portfolio to another unit of OTP Bank Nyrt. registered in the Netherlands, Romania Insider reported Dec. 20.

The competition regulator also ordered the bank to return to its debtors about €200 million worth of interests charged between 2006 and 2016, when the loans were not in OTP Bank Romania's portfolio.

The competition watchdog's decision refers to loans amounting to over CHF550 million, which were transferred to OTP Financing Solutions BV in several tranches during a period until the end of 2009. The regulator ruled that the Dutch unit was not entitled to collect interest and commissions from OTP Bank customers because it is not registered as a bank or nonbanking financial institution in Romania.

The decision follows a local court's ruling from November, Romania Insider said, noting that similar steps were already taken by the competition regulator against another Romanian lender, Bancpost SA, which also transferred part of its loans to foreign units of former parent Eurobank Ergasias SA.

As of Dec. 20, US$1 was equivalent to 4.07 Romanian lei.