CCI dismisses complaint against ICICI Bank

NEW DELHI: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has dismissed a complaint of abuse of dominant position made against ICICI Bank with respect to the home loan segment.

It was alleged that there were one-sided clauses in loan agreement and that housing finance banks were indulging in cartelisation by way of having same clauses. The complaint was filed by an individual.

In its order passed on Wednesday, the regulator said the allegations of abuse of dominance specifically relate to arbitrary increase in interest rate on home loan and increase in tenure of home loan by the bank on the basis of one-sided conditions in the loan agreement.

To assess the complaint, the regulator considered the ‘market for provision of home loans in India’ as the relevant one.

The CCI also noted that there are several public and private sector banks, non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and housing finance companies (HFCs) operating in the home loan market, providing various options to consumers for availing home loans.

Existence of a large number of players in the home loan market shows that ICICI Bank cannot operate independently in the market and, hence, cannot be considered to be in a position of dominance in the relevant market, the regulator said as it dismissed the complaint.

Regarding the alleged cartelisation against all banks providing home loans, the CCI said the complainant has not identified any bank or entity that might be involved in cartelisation with ICICI Bank or provided any material which shows that the inclusion of similar clause, if so, by a bank/ entity other than ICICI Bank.

Finding no “prima facie case”, the watchdog decided to close the matter.

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