Allegations of unfair trade practices against Bank of Baroda, rejected Competition Commission of India (CCI)

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The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has rejected allegations of unfair business practices against Bank of Baroda in a matter related to foreclosure of a loan. The complaint was filed by Uttarakhand-based Dhanvir Food Product, which had availed of a term loan of Rs 7.25 crore from the bank, against the lender and its branch in the state. To foreclose the loan, the lender had sought foreclosure penalty which was alleged to be arbitrary, unreasonable and anti-competitive. Among others, it was also alleged that the lender’s conduct was against the interest of the borrower as it prevented the latter from switching over to other banks and financial institutions that offered better options on loans.

The Bank held on its part that “no material has been provided to show that Bank of Baroda has been imposing pre-payment penalty or foreclosure charges in pursuance of some agreement entered into with any other enterprise engaged in similar trade or business”.

The Court said that no prima facie case of contravention of Section 3 can be made out against the opposite parties in the instant case, Section 3 of the Competition Act pertaining to anti-competitive agreements. As far as the charge of Section 4 was concerned that of abuse of dominant position, the Commission considered ‘market of commercial/corporate loan in India’. The watchdog ruled that the lender is not dominant in the relevant market and hence, did not violate competition norms.
Finding no prima facie evidence of unfair business practices, the competition watchdog has decided to close the matter.

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