From Iceland — Icelandic Competition Authority Concerned Over Bank Operation

Icelandic Competition Authority Concerned Over Bank Operation

Published February 7, 2013

The Icelandic Competition Authority has expressed concern over the lack of competitive operation policies among the country’s three big banks, Landsbanki, Íslandsbanki, and Arion Banki. According to a new report released by the Icelandic Competition Authority, titled “Fjármálaþjónusta á krossgötum” (PDF link) this is resulting in clients paying higher rates and receiving unfavourable terms in order to cover the banks’ ever-increasing operating expenses.
The report reveals that the operating costs of the banks have been increasing significantly year-over-year since the crash, as the public focused their post-crash attention on loan re-evaluation, which increased the banks profits more than had been expected, RÚV reports.
Wages for bank employees have been steadily increasing since the crash, at a far greater rate than employees in other sectors have been experiencing. Such expenses increased by 15% between 2009 and 2010 in the banking sector, while a comparison made with the increased wages of 26,000 firms in other sectors show an average wage increase of just 6% over the same period. Moreover, on an international scale, the operating expenses of Icelandic banks is considered high, accounting for 2.3% of bank assets, in comparison to the operating costs of small Nordic banks and larger European banks claiming 0.6 – 1.5% of assets going toward operating expenses.
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