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Israel: Antirust authorities probing possible collusion on mortgage rates

 |  November 15, 2016

Israel’s Antitrust Authority has begun investigating for any evidence of collusion among the country’s mortgage lenders and warned that it would take “tough action” if it uncovered evidence, its chief said on Monday.

Speaking to the Knesset Finance Committee, which held a debate on rising home-loan rates, Antitrust Commissioner Michal Halperin said the probe had begun last Thursday when it received the first usable data.

“We are talking about a complicated economic study that will take several weeks at least. If we indeed find there’s been collusion we will take steps against the banks,” she said.

Halperin said the authority’s suspicions were first aroused in July 2015 when mortgage rates began rising from record lows, but it hasn’t been clear so far whether the banks were in fact colluding to raise rates or were simply responding to Bank of Israel rules on home loans.

Full Content: Haaretz

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