March 15th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) The Center for Conciliation and Arbitration of the Chamber of Commerce of Costa Rica ruled against Banco Nacional in a case involving a loan with a hotelier.
The case centers around the fact that Banco Nacional, as part of a loan agreement, set a “floor,” or minimum interest on a loan it made to Gaia Hotel and Reserve, though it set no ceiling, or maximum interest rate on the loan.
As a result, although mortgage rates in the market fell lower than the minimum interest rate on the hotel’s loan, that loan’s interest was not allowed to fall lower than the minimum interest established in the loan agreement.
In this case, the loan was linked to LIBOR, currently at 0.44%.
The case was filed by the Association of Free Consumers (ACL), representing the hotel and its owner.
The resolution states that the bank must return $288,190 in overcharges, administrative expenses, and court fees.
According to a legal adviser for the ACL, yesterday’s resolution is fully binding.
The owner of the hotel said the ruling is a relief for his company, and that the bank must reduce the monthly interest on the loan with the fall in LIBOR. He noted that hoteliers have faced difficulties since the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009.