The trial for the mortgage index IRPH has begun. On Monday the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) held the oral hearing for the three prejudicial issues raised by a Spanish magistrate on the validity of this indicator, used as an alternative to the Euribor in thousands of deeds signed by consumers in Spain. The EU-based institution in Luxembourg is called upon to decide if this index is abusive or to confirm the position of the Spanish Supreme Court, which at the end of 2017 established that it was valid and its commercialization did not imply any lack of transparency.
The verdict will be known, predictably, towards the second half of this year. But if the TUJE leans towards the nullity of the IRPH, the costs for the banking sector would range between 7,000 and 44,000 million euros, according to Goldman Sachs. The US investment bank calculates that Santander, BBVA, CaixaBank, Sabadell, Bankia and Unicaja, banks that cover, they would have to assume a pre-tax cost of between 4,600 and 29,249 million. CaixaBank would be the most exposed, with an invoice of between 1,775 and 11,250 million, while Santander and BBVA should return both between 1,014 and 6,428 million, Bankia between 406 and 2,571 million, Sabadell between 355 and 2,250 million, and Unicaja between 51 and 321 million .
There are more than a million mortgages that hired a loan referenced to the IRPH, most of them in Catalonia, according to platform that began to demand the nullity of this index, IRPH Stop Gipuzkoa. This official index, disappeared in 2013 but still valid for previously signed mortgages, is the average rate of mortgage loans for more than three years granted by Spanish financial institutions to buy free housing and you cIt was commercialized mainly between 2006 and 2007, in full boom real estate.
The mortgages referenced to the IRPH aren average more expensive than the euribor: 1,000 euros a year for an average mortgage of 150,000 euros for 25 years, according to the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU), which considers that this clause is one more example of bank abuse. Thousands of mortgages denounced that the loans referenced to the IRPH did not exceed the control of transparency, since this index was set according to data handled by the entity itself without the consumer being clearly informed of this nor having been presented with comparative tables of the evolution historical of this index with respect to the Euribor. Several courts gave the reason to the mortgaged, but the Supreme Court did not see it so clear and closed the door to claim.
The European Commission made it clear in a report sent to the CJEU that the consumer must have all the necessary information before signing the contract. Therefore, the clause that establishes the IRPH as reference index must be zero if it has not been marketed transparently. Different consumer associations consider that the IRPH should have the same treatment of the floor clause and they are hopeful that European justice will take the side of the user. According to Adicae, the return of the amounts paid for more would be at 20,000 euros on average per mortgage. Therefore, it advises those affected to not sign any pact with their bank before knowing the verdict of European justice.