With the Pacte law (Draft Law Relative to Growth and Transformation of Companies), the government intends to rethink the place of business in the economic fabric and thus support growth. Regarding the bank-client relationship, the Pacte law kicks the nest. Indeed, an amendment to the bill puts an end to the obligation for customers to have their wages paid to the bank that granted them a mortgage. On the night of March 15, MPs decided to offer consumers a nice surprise. Small description of a change in the direction of customer protection.
A recently authorized practice
The practice of direct debit has been used for several years, in particular in negotiating the conditions for granting a mortgage. But it is since 2018 that this practice has been ratified in law. Since that date, a lender can condition a home loan offer to the establishment of the bank domiciliation of customer income within the lending bank.
However, the law regulates this practice by limiting this obligation to 10 years. The consumer code in its articles L 313-25 and L 313-25-1 nonetheless requires the bank to offer the customer a certain advantage in return (preferential rate, free booking fees, etc.) and to formalize it in the loan agreement. The bank then has the power to withdraw the advantage granted to the customer in the event of non-compliance with this direct debit agreement.
Reinforcement of the principle of banking mobility
This practice has been questioned, in a context where the public authorities are giving customers the freedom to make their own consumption choices. In fact, the French Association of Bank Users (AFUB) has contacted the Council of State on this issue. The latter himself seized the Court of Justice of the European Union.
“The government co-pedaled to avoid censorship by the European Court,” said Sinio Maites, president of AFUB. “It is nonetheless a happy epilogue which puts an end to captive customers, to bank prisoners”. Cherry Dubost, LREM MP for Hérault and at the origin of this amendment, explains: “We had to fight at first reading. We must avoid creating national monopoly empires and put ourselves in contradiction with European law when we are campaigning for social and fiscal harmonization in Europe ”.
From now on, direct debit will still be authorized but can no longer be a current and systematic clause. It must be integrated into a commercial negotiation process which must in no case be imposed on customers.
Note, the story is not over. The text must still pass before the Senate, but it seems important to remember that in case of disagreement between the two organs of Parliament, it is the National Assembly that will have the last word. Case to follow!