Summary Box: Dutch watchdog's mortgage probe

AP News
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Posted: Nov 01, 2010 3:19 PM
Summary Box: Dutch watchdog's mortgage probe

THE ISSUE: The Netherlands' market regulator NMa has started an investigation of banking margins on mortgages, which have been fatter than in neighboring countries since mid-2009.

THE BANKS: The Dutch mortgage market is dominated by three large players: Rabobank, ING NV and ABN Amro.

THE NUMBERS: The NMa showed banks' profit margins _ the difference between what it costs banks to raise the money they lend, and the mortgage rates they offer customers _ on 5-10 year fixed rate mortgages at around 1.9 percent in the Netherlands, 1.25 percent in Germany and 0.75 percent in France. Small percentages in mortgage margins can make a huge difference in profits.