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Parliamentary questions
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21 June 2019
Answer given by Vice-President Dombrovskis on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-002124/2019

The Commission proposal on credit servicers, credit purchasers and the recovery of collateral(1) would establish clear safeguards for borrowers in case their loans are sold to secondary market investors. The impact assessment(2) accompanying, reports data on purchases by large foreign investors, and the names, origin and key business data of ten smaller European non-performing loan (NPL) purchasers (Table A.5.4).

It also reports names of around 100 loan servicers (Table A5.A2), many of which also purchase NPL. Public statistical offices do not collect information on activities and market shares of purchasers. As regards data from public sources, Figure A.5.1 in the impact assessment concerning transaction volumes on loan markets shows considerable differences among the three private data sources and incomplete coverage of private data.

A number of academic studies analyse the social impact of over-indebtedness. Some publicly available economic research indicates that the reduction of NPL ratios is positive for the economy(3). This positive economic impact should also reverberate on social conditions (such as reduced unemployment and poverty), thanks to higher lending and economic growth rates.

In any case, NPL assignments do not alter the contractual rights and obligations between the debtors and the assigned creditors. The Commission keeps monitoring this issue, based for instance on reported complaints by consumer associations about the behaviour of non-banks that acquired loans from banks(4).

As regards the impact of secondary markets for NPLs on housing, the Commission is aware that the Irish central bank is collecting granular data on residential mortgage arrears and repossessions by non-banks, for instance.

(1)COM(2018) 135 final
(2)SWD(2018) 75 final
(3)For example Balgova, M., Nies, M. and Plekhanov, A. ‘The economic impact of reducing non-performing loans’ European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Working Paper 193, London, 2016, https://www.ebrd.com/publications/working-papers/economic-impact.html.
(4)Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs AISBL, Secondary market for non-performing loans, Brussels, 2018, https ://www.beuc.eu/publications/beuc-x-2018-068_secondary_market_for_non-performing_loans.pdf.

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