The Ocu Denounces That Transferring An Account From One Entity

Following a complaint by the OCU against 21 entities, the Bank of Spain issues a request to the supervised banks to modify their procedures and comply with the transfer of accounts

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“The banks have been playing crazy in respect of an obligation imposed on them in 2019: make things as easy as possible for the client who wants to take his bank account from one entity to another”, denounces the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU). One year after the entry into force of the European regulations that oblige banks to facilitate this procedure, the OCU carried out a practical test to check whether the entities informed consumers and fulfilled their obligations in the account transfer procedure. The results were so dire that the OCU denounced 21 entities before the Bank of Spain for thes Obstacles they put in place to prevent their clients from transferring their checking account from one entity to another.

In March 2019, a European regulation came into force that aimed to simplify and facilitate the switching of accounts between entities for consumers and favor the level of competition between banks. Thanks to this rule, customers just need to fill out an application at the destination bank for the transfer to be launched. The procedure should be as follows: the destination bank must provide the client with the form and take care of centralizing the payments and deposits in the new account from the designated date provided that it is at least 13 business days after the delivery of the form; meanwhile, the old bank must cancel all standing orders, as well as transfer the remaining balance and close the old account, if so indicated on the form.

Banks resist applying the regulations

The theory contrasts with what happens in practice. In early 2020, anonymous OCU collaborators made six current account transfer requests“with painful results, beginning because many bank employees did not even know what we were talking about and ending because no transfer worked”, emphasizes the OCU.

Consequently, the OCU denounced 21 entities before the Bank of Spain and filed a complaint with the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) to investigate the possible unfair practices derived from such conduct, still pending resolution.

The issues highlighted by the OCU in its complaint have been the subject of a specific supervisory action carried out by the Bank of Spain, the result of which has been the assessment of shortcomings in the way in which some entities are carrying out the aforementioned transfer of accounts, specifically, in relation to making the application form available to customers, the reasons alleged by the entity to deny the transfer and the way in which those reasons are communicated to consumers.

As a result of all this, the Bank of Spain has agreed to require the supervised entities to change their procedures and guarantee that the regulations are complied with.