On 7 March 2018, the CPC opened a sector inquiry into the banking sector. The aim of the sector inquiry is to examine the competitiveness and transparency in the banking sector and the conditions of banking services in Bulgaria. The CPC will review any existing barriers preventing customers from switching to another bank, the existence of product tying (i.e. binding / bundled sales), and other practices potentially harmful to competition. Furthermore, the CPC indicated that, in advance of the sector inquiry, it has carried out a review of the publicly available information on the websites of the respective banks concerning the applicable interest rates, fees and commissions applied in the provision of services to customers by the member banks of the Association of Banks in Bulgaria.
The inquiry will allow the CPC to identify possible competition concerns in the banking market and may lead to enforcement actions against individual banks for competition law breaches. All stakeholders should be prepared to receive information requests / questionnaires by the CPC in the following weeks.