During the first six months of 2021, as many as 314 consumers went through the entire conciliation process (application filing, negotiation, final resolution accepted by both parties), or reached an amicable settlement directly with banks/NBFIs, having first approached ABDRC. The situation is better than in 2020 (up by 14%) when, during the same period, 276 Romanians were reported in one of these two situations. Starting with Q1 2020, legal entities can also refer to ABDRC cases related to payment services and electronic money issuing. ABDRC has already received four such applications so far, but the financial institutions involved, which could have entered negotiations thereon, rejected them.
The number of applications received in the first half of 2021 (1,229 applications) stays relatively flat v the first half of 2020 (95% of the figure of the same period of 2020). This flat development is due also to the months that continued to be affected by the sanitary crisis. Many consumers became unemployed/were furloughed, or their work was suspended, which could led them into applying for either the statutory moratoria (in the first part of the year), or identification of a solution to rebalance their contractual obligations (their applications having been submitted directly to creditors, or via ABDRC).
Thus, while last year/2020, ABDRC used to receive in average 48 negotiation applications per week (this, considering that in March 2020 ABDRC used to receive in average more than 86 applications per week), in the first half of 2021, 47 applications were received in average per week.
Of the total number of applications received by the end of the first half of 2021, 781 concerned different issues in relations with banks, whereas 448 concerned different issues in relations with NBFIs.
In the same context, the first half of 2021 saw a significant increase in the number of applications intended for NBFIs, with their share (of the total number of applications submitted to ABDRC) being increasingly higher. Thus, while the end of the first half of 2020 saw a share of applications intended for NBFIs of only 22% of the total, during the same period of this year, the share of applications intended for NBFIs is 36% of the total/first half of 2021 (going up by 14 percentage points). In order to make this increase even clearer, we point out that in the end of the first half of 2021, the number of applications intended for NBFIs is 448, whereas the total number of applications intended for NBFIs was 576 in the end of the entire 2020.
Per a contrario, the number of applications intended for banks decreased in the first semester of this year/first half of 2021 v first half of 2020, from little over 1,000 applications/first half of 2020 down to only 781 applications/first half of 2021 (a decrease of approx. 25%).
In this statistical slot, we need to highlight also that, in the first semester of this year, the applications for deregistration from the Credit Office observed a material development. In mid-2021, there were 584 applications for deregistration from CO (194 intended for banks + 390 intended for NBFIs), already overtaking the figure of the entire 2020 (530 such applications). It should be recalled that the applications concern issues in relation to the Credit Office, the First House programme or assigned loans are rejected because, on a case-by-case basis, these are governed by a special piece of legislation which leaves but limited, if no room at all for negotiation.
The total number of casefiles formed in the end of the first half of 2021 reached 242, of which 239 involved banks, and only 3 such casefiles concerned NBFIs (compared to the first six months of 2020, when 272 casefiles were formed). Of the casefiles formed this year, 211 concluded with a resolution (the parties accepted the solution proposed by the conciliator), and additional 19 casefiles are still being processed. In 12 cases, the parties rejected the solution the conciliator rendered and a report was issued.
Even if the number of casefiles formed in the first half of 2021 is lower compared to the same period of last year (when we were in the growing phase of the pandemic), we notice an increase in the number effectively resolved (thanks to the higher processing speed) and concluded with a resolution (that of parties reaching an agreement). Thus, the end of the first half of 2021 sees 211 resolutions and only 12 reports (a share of 95% resolutions v 5% reports), compared to the situation observed in the end of the first half of 2020, when there were 116 resolutions and 19 reports (a share of 86% resolutions v 14% reports). This development mirrors a higher willingness of the parties to negotiate, as well as the speeding-up of the actual negotiation process managed by the ABDRC conciliators.
Furthermore, before the end of the first half of 2021, 103 applications were settled amicably by traders after the respective cases having been referred to ABDRC (traders negotiated directly with consumers), broken down as follows: 81 applications settled amicably with banks, and 22 applications settled amicably with NBFIs.
In the end of the first half of this year, we counted approximately 2,000 requests made by phone, and 427 persons/consumers access the chat function on the website of ABDRC.
The break-down of applications on banks/NBFIs is as follows:
- 781 compliant applications;
- 90 non-compliant applications;
- 670 requests for miscellaneous information.
Classification of the 781 compliant applications:
- 239 casefiles formed in the end of the first half of 2021 (14 casefiles are formed in 2021 from applications received in late 2020);
- 56 applications in the screening phase – documents are being reviewed;
- 81 applications were settled amicably by the parties, but this after the consumer having first referred the case to ABDRC;
- 419 cases were closed.
Classification of the 239 casefiles in the procedure with proposed solution/conciliation:
- 211 resolutions rendered – the parties reached an agreement;
- 17 cases in the phase of discussions with the parties;
- 11 reports – the parties failed to reach an agreement.
Means of filing compliant applications:
- 492 were submitted via the app (website);
- 244 were emailed;
- 21 were mailed;
- 24 were brought to and registered by consumers with the office of ABDRC.
- 448 compliant applications.
Classification of the 448 compliant applications:
- 3 cases created in the end of first half of 2021;
- 143 in screening phase – documents are being reviewed;
- 22 applications were settled amicably between the NBFI and the consumer concerned, however after the having first consumer approached ABDRC;
- 280 were closed – rejected by the NBFIs.
Qualification of the 3 casefiles in the procedure with proposed solution/conciliation:
- 0 resolutions rendered – the parties reached an agreement;
- 2 cases in the phase of discussions with the parties;
- 1 report – the parties failed to reach an agreement.
Means of filing compliant applications:
- 402 were submitted via the app (website);
- 38 were filed by email;
- 6 were mailed;
- 2 were brought to and registered by consumers with the office of ABDRC.
The applications received from consumers covered the following topics:
- Problems in connection with credit products:
- Credit Office (deregistration from CO);
- Refunds (of fees/commissions, interest);
- Reduction of loan principal/debt/instalment, or writing off overdue amounts;
- Agreement renegotiation/rebalancing (including for hardship);
- Finding a solution to address the problems (in general);
- Finding a solution to address the problems generated by the pandemic;
- Conversion of the loan currency;
- Problems with insurance policies (bancassurance);
- Interest recalculation;
- Payment commitments;
- Maturity acceleration;
- Removal of certain clauses.
- Operational problems:
- Problems with operation of the ATMs (including refunds);
- Problems in connection with wire transfers and refunds of transaction fees;
- Refunds in case of processing errors;
- Recovery of amount wrongly transferred by consumers (internet banking);
- Provision of clarifications about calculation of the amounts withdrawn by banks from the credit card account;
- Other card-related problems (cancellation/name change);
- Problems in connection with the exchange rate and interests charged when using the cards abroad;
- Problems regarding inter-banking transfers.
- Problems related to other types of activities:
- Problems in connection with forced execution (suspensions/stays of proceedings);
- Requests to be issued documents (repayment schedules, statement of account, etc.);
- Refunds of garnished amounts;
- Mortgage deregistration;
- Stay of instalment payment (pursuant to the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 37/2020).
The main reason for closing an application is the refusal of traders to have the dispute settle via ADR procedure, and the reasons for closing fall into several categories:
- Good reasons (main) – the application concerns:
- deregistration of entries from the Credit Office;
- “First House” loans;
- assigned claims;
- the state premium under saving-credit contracts;
- the consumer does not meet the terms of the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 37/2020.
- Reasons related to consumers:
- selection of a trader the business of which is not regulated by the National Bank of Romania;
- selection of a trader they don’t have commercial relations with;
- the information/documents required for resolving the application have not been supplied;
- the consumer does not reply within 90 days;
- there is no insurance;
- the consumer withdraws.
- Other reasons:
- pending court proceedings;
- forced execution procedures have already been initiated;
- traders made several offers, but all of them were turned down by consumers (before approaching ABDRC), and traders maintain their point of view in the initial answer sent to consumers;
- lack of grounds (claimed by the trader).
The statistical data shows that the number of consumers who approached ABDRC remained relatively flat v the first half of 2020 (the first half of 2020 overlapped the growing phase of the pandemic and this brought week with record application numbers in excess of 100). If we are to relate to the cases resolved (under resolutions or with amicable settlement further to a referral to ABDRC), the results in the end of the first half of this year are 14% better than the same period of last year and are going slightly up in terms of both the number of applications received and the number of conciliation casefiles formed. However, this increase is driven by the number of cases effectively resolved and concluded with a resolution/the parties reaching an agreement (thanks to the higher processing speed and the increased willingness of the parties to negotiate).