RMA NEW YORK CHAPTER ANTITRUST GUIDELINES
The antitrust laws are designed to ensure that business is conducted in an open, competitive atmosphere and that competition should not be unreasonably restricted. The challenging aspect of antitrust laws is that it is complicated and the general language in which the statutes are written does not specify the exact conduct that would be considered a violation. Therefore, you should review these guidelines at least annually.
What Is Prohibited
Prohibited by the antitrust laws are agreements to:
- Fix prices (for example, the compensation a lender receives for loans, including interest rates, compensating balances, and other accommodations).
- Divide markets or customers.
- Boycott or jointly refuse to deal with customers or other financial institutions.
- Arrive at any understanding, express or implied, respecting any anticompetitive concert of action.
An anticompetitive agreement need not be formal or even express and can be proven by circumstantial evidence. Thus, if such circumstances as the exchange of pricing plans permit the inference of a tacit understanding to “act in concert” or “follow the leader,” a jury may be allowed to find intentional violation of the law. The courts have sometimes deemed trade associations as possible “hotbeds of conspiracy.”
Thus, RMA New York Chapter is desirous that none of its activities, as carried out by its members, even remotely suggest antitrust misconduct. Therefore, to avoid accusations of violating antitrust laws, whenever you attend an RMA New York Chapter event, keep in mind these basic guidelines:
What You Should Avoid
At RMA New York Chapter events, meetings and round tables and even in conversations:
- Do not agree—or engage in any form of conduct from which it may be argued that you agreed—to fix interest rates, fees, or any other element of the “price” or terms of loans.
- Do not share information concerning your prices or fees on matters such as costs that affect your price.
- Do not agree to treat a particular individual or group of customers in one set manner or to boycott or stop lending to certain kinds of customers.
- Do not allocate customers or territories.
- Do not make announcements concerning what your institution may or may not do concerning loan or other terms for certain classes of customers.
- Do not disclose confidential, proprietary, or competitive information or your bank’s sensitive corporate strategies