The Cyprus Commission for the Protection of Competition (CPC), by a unanimous decision, imposed a financial penalty of £100.000 (one hundred thousand Cyprus pounds) to three banking institutions, namely Bank of Cyprus, Cyprus Popular Bank and Hellenic Bank, for effecting concerted practice with regards to the location of the automated teller machines (ATM) of JCC Payment Systems Ltd, infringing the Law for the Protection of Competition.
The three banking institutions named in the decision, entered into exchange of information and recommendations which resulted into a concerted practice with regards to the geographical location of the automated teller machines (ATM) of JCC Payment Systems Ltd, infringing Article 4(1) (b) and (c) of the Law 207/89.
In the same decision, the CPC, unanimously decided that, the alleged infringement on the part of the three major banking institutions of Article 4(1)(a), in relation to the fixing of the charges for the use of the ATMs of JCC Payment Systems Ltd, included in the Statement of Objections presented to these three banking institutions, has not been proven.
The CPC imposed the financial penalty amounting to CYP 100.000 on the three banking institutions. In determining the level of the penalty, the CPC took into consideration the commitment undertaken by the banking institutions to disassociate themselves of the process of deciding the locations of the ATMs of JCC Payment Systems Ltd, their co-operation with the Commission, the acknowledgement on their part that they had entered into exchange of information and recommendations with regards to the location of the ATMs of JCC as well as the declaration by their legal counselors that there was no intention on their part to distort competition and that any such incidents will be avoided in the future.
Furthermore, in its decision, the CPC emphasized the fact that these three major banking institutions have effective control of the market of card payments and therefore, have to be extremely careful in all their actions so as not to cause any anticompetitive effects in this market.
By its decision, the CPC ordered the three banking institutions to conform fully to the provisions of Article 4 of the Law for the Protection of Competition.