Brussels, 17 January 2007
The European Commission has published the reports of two expert groups established in April 2006 in order to explore in detail the issues of mortgage funding and consumer protection. These issues had been particularly highlighted as deserving specific attention in the contributions received on the Commission's 2005 Green Paper on Mortgage Credit in the EU. The reports will assist the Commission in finalising its White Paper, due in June 2007. The Commission welcomes comments, in particular on the Recommendations contained in the Funding Group Report, until 15 February 2007.
Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy: "The work of these experts groups helps us to understand better the positions of consumers and the mortgage lending industry." The consultation process is now near completion and the Commission will start preparing its policy proposals, which will be unveiled before the summer".
Consumer Protection Commissioner Meglena Kuneva added: "A mortgage credit is very often the largest financial operation ever performed by a consumer in his lifetime. Consumers should be able to see clear gains from any future Community initiative in this field."
The report of the Mortgage Funding Expert Group (see IP/06/855) reviews all barriers to the emergence of an efficient and competitive pan-European mortgage funding market, and proposes solutions – mostly market-driven – to remove existing obstacles. It focuses on both primary and secondary markets and covers all funding techniques such as deposits, covered bonds and residential Mortgage Backed Securities. The Report concludes that although European mortgage funding markets are already relatively competitive and efficient, targeted measures at national or EU level could further improve their operation.
The Mortgage Industry and Consumer Dialogue (see IP/06/642) explored in detail four key consumer protection issues, namely pre-contractual information, advice, early repayment and the annual percentage rate of charge (APRC). Even though they have not led to definitive conclusions on how consumer protection measures could be harmonised, discussions were open, constructive and highly useful for the Commission.
Stakeholders are invited to comment by 15 February 2007. Responses should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The reports are available at: