Current regulations on transparency (Ministerial Order EHA/2899/2011, of 28 October 2011 on transparency and protection of customers of banking services (in Spanish) which came into force on 29 April 2012, are not applicable to customers that are legal entities. However, the Banco de España’s Market Conduct and Claims Department considers that legal persons should also benefit from the traditionally held view that customers should not pay account maintenance or transaction fees when a bank requires an account to be held that is solely used for payment of the interest accruing on a deposit, for servicing a personal or mortgage loan, or for payments arising from other types of operation. In such cases, customers would be paying to comply with an obligation (to open an account for the bank’s convenience), imposed by the bank in its own interest, which is considered contrary to the principle of reciprocity and good banking practices.
The Banco de España’s Market Conduct and Claims Department considers that customers should be exempt from account maintenance and/or transaction fees in the case of accounts held at the bank’s behest solely for payment services deriving from banking transactions. This is because in such cases the customer would be paying to meet an obligation (opening an account to facilitate the bank’s administration), imposed by the bank in its own interest, which is considered contrary to the principles of reciprocity and good banking practices.
This will depend on when your loan agreement was signed.
If you took out your mortgage before April 29th 2012 (when Ministerial Order EHA/2899/2011 came into force) you should not have to pay any account maintenance and transaction fees if the bank required you to open the account and it is used solely to service the mortgage loan.
However, if your mortgage loan was arranged after April 29th 2012, the Ministerial Order establishes that fees may be charged, even if the account is used exclusively to service the mortgage loan, but only under the following circumstances:
- It appears on the FIPRE and FIPER pre-contractual information documents.
- You were informed in advance about the requirement to open an account associated with the mortgage loan.
- You were informed of the share of the total cost of the transaction corresponding to account maintenance.
- The requirement to open the account and its cost are stated in the terms and conditions and this cost cannot be changed unilaterally by the lender over the duration of the loan.