Dutch banks treat mortgage customers as "cash cows": Consumer assoc.

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Banks treat their customers with a mortgage "too often as a cash cow", Bart Combee, director of Dutch consumers assocation Consumentenbond said on Tuesday. A study by the association showed that banks often charge higher than necessary costs for adjustments to mortgages, ANP reports.

"Consumers who want to make a small adjustment on their mortgage are often faced with costs that we cannot explain", Combee said. That the costs are often unecessary can be seen in by how much they differ between banks. For example, ABN Amro charges 1,500 euros to change a mortgage after a divorce. ING charges double that. And to convert a mortgage, Nationale-Nederlande charges five times as much as Rabobank.

Consumers are also often required to pay for advice on mortgage adjustments. According to Combee, this advice is "often unecessary". Rabobank and SNS customers most often face mandatory advice from a mortgage advisor. 

The Volksbank, the parent company of Rabobank and SNS, defends the mandatory advice. "The mortgage is the biggest fixed burden for homeowners. Adjustments to this can have major consequences. We think it's better that this is carefully looked at with the advisor so that the customer makes a well-considered decision", a spokesperson said to the news wire. 

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