Are they authorised to sell you this?
The emergence of new players on the financial scene is a reality that forms part of our everyday lives: real estate credit intermediaries or real estate lenders, entities offering comparison tools, financial information aggregators, and all kinds of fintechs offering products and services that we are already familiar with and others which are new and may prove of great interest to us. Often, what we know about these new agents comes from fora, social media, advertisements or personal recommendations.
Here are some examples:
- Your bank will not grant you the loan you need to buy a house, but you have found a lender that will.
- You wish to put aside some savings, and a payment or electronic money institution at which you have a card has offered you a very attractive deposit rate in an entity you have never heard of.
When your money and peace of mind are at stake, it is not only understandable, but necessary, that you should question whether these entities can be trusted.
You should be aware that, in order to provide certain services to the public (such as taking deposits or payment services), entities are required to officially register with the Banco de España, which supervises registered institutions. However, lending is not a reserved activity (except for mortgage loans for the purchase of residential property), and may thus be lawfully pursued by agents that are not registered with the Banco de España. But bear in mind that they have not been screened for inclusion in the corresponding registers. The following registers will show you whether an entity meets the legal requirements to offer specific financial products or services and to use a specific name:
- Institutions Register. In addition to the traditional credit institutions (banks, savings banks and credit cooperatives), you will find payment institutions, specialised lending institutions, account information service providers or the representative offices of foreign credit institutions in Spain.
- Register of real estate credit intermediaries and real estate lenders. These new entities must also be registered with the Banco de España, unless they only operate in one autonomous region, in which case they are only required to register in that region.
- Register of providers engaged in exchange services between virtual currencies and fiat currencies and custodian wallet providers. Entities providing such services must be entered, no later than 29 January 2022, in the register that the Banco de España will set up for that purpose in the coming months.
Generally, the fact that a company does not appear on any of these registers does not necessarily mean that the services it provides are unlawful or that there are hidden risks. If it does appear on the register, you should still examine and check all the information you are given, and consider it an additional fact to bear in mind when making a well-founded and informed decision about who you share your data with or who you would entrust your savings or become indebted to.