A credit intermediary is a person or company authorised to enter into consumer credit agreements in return for money or other types of compensation, as part of the intermediary's commercial, industrial, artisanal or professional activities. Credit intermediaries may offer their services either as their primary activity or on an ancillary basis (for example, a car salesperson who offers financing).
Credit intermediaries must hold all the required authorisations from: the Minister of Finance, if they work in the financial sector, or the Minister of the Economy, if they primarily work in the commercial or artisanal sector and act as a credit intermediary only on an ancillary basis.
Moreover, credit intermediaries must register on a list of the Ministry of the Economy by using the relevant registration form. The form must be duly completed and signed and sent with copies of the relevant documents (ID card for natural persons, agreement with the lender and/or the credit intermediary). The registration form must include information on the identity of the lender for whom he is acting or with whom he collaborates, as well as his address.
If the credit intermediary is collaborating with another credit intermediary, he must indicate that person's identity and address in the registration form.
Credit intermediaries are not lenders, but they may:
- present or offer a loan agreement to consumers;
- assist consumers by preparing loan agreements other than those referred to above;
- enter into loan agreements with consumers on behalf of the lender.
Credit intermediaries are subject to the same rules as lenders when they enter into loan agreements directly with the consumer, with respect to:
- providing pre-contractual information;
- providing explanations to enable consumers to determine whether a loan agreement is suited to their needs and financial situation;
- informing consumers of the consequences of payment default, etc.
Credit intermediaries also have specific obligations:
- in all advertising and information material for consumers, they must indicate the extent of their powers and whether they work with one or more lenders in particular or instead act as an independent broker. This information must be provided clearly, concisely and visibly;
- they must inform consumers about possible charges for these services. These charges are agreed upon between the consumer and the credit intermediary and are stated on paper or any other durable medium.
However, sellers or service providers who act only as incidental credit intermediaries are not required to provide all this information to the consumer.
In such cases, it is the lender who must provide the information to the consumer. The lender either provides the information personally or enters into an agreement with the credit intermediary to provide the information to the consumer, to ensure the consumer always receives the necessary information.