Average Negotiation Times Drops below 33 Days | First Conciliators to Exceed 200 Negotiations in ABDRC

The average time required to complete a negotiation between a consumer and a bank via the Alternative Banking Dispute Resolution Centre (ABDRC) dropped to 33 days in 2021. In fact, conciliators now address the problems reported by consumers 40% faster than in the previous years. The more experience the conciliators acquire in the Centre, the more efficient they are in the conciliation process. In March 2022, Camelia Popa, Roxana Mustățea and Septimiu Stoica exceeded 200 negotiations in ABDRC. Also, the average time needed to fill out an application on the website www.csalb.ro reduced by close to 1 minute.

Faster Negotiations between Consumers and Banks



In 2021, the average time needed to carry though a conciliation case was 33 days, compared to 59 days in 2020 and 55 days in 2019. The short time before a solution is reached in a negotiation is driven by the negotiation efficiency: last year, approximately 9 of 10 negotiations between consumers and banks concluded with the parties coming to terms and accepting the solutions proposed by the ABDRC conciliators. In 473 negotiations, the parties came to terms, and in only 71 negotiations, one of the parties rejected the solutions proposed by the Centre’s conciliators (in 2021, in only 8 situations, one of the parties withdrew from negotiation, compared to 2020, when we saw 36 such withdrawals).

First Conciliators to Exceed 200 Negotiations in ABDRC

Camelia Popa worked her way up through all the legal advisor levels: from advisor to legal manager and attorney in the big companies of Romania. So far, she has led 205 negotiations in ABDRC. Of her conciliation cases of 2021, she boasts the highest percentage of negotiations further which the parties came to terms (92%). Also average time of the conciliations Camelia Popa worked on was the shortest: on average, 20 days for a negotiation.

“During my six years of conciliating the relations between consumers and banks, I have seen developments for both consumers, and the banks’ approach to consumers. Both parties have become easier to work with and trust conciliators more, and the banks have improved and enlarged their negotiation teams. There are now teams that work directly with ABDRC, with specialists in commercial and legal matters, and even people with more decision-making power than in the first years of ABDRC. Back then, the banks used to be rather inflexible, and only looked at the contract clauses. Now, we can see how much they have evolved when they propose more solutions to a consumer. My recommendation would be to keep practicing compromise in negotiation, because only by compromise and giving up some of their initial claims, the parties can come to terms. Each party needs to keep an eye on the outcome they pursue, and another eye open to the different solutions that can emerge from negotiation. Now, even consumers make proposal of solutions, they are more informed”, says Camelia Popa, ABDRC conciliator.

Septimiu Stoica is the President of the Romanian Commodities Exchange, and used to be the head of the Bucharest Stock Exchange. He was also a Professor in all the fields he was active in: from automation to Law. In ABDRC, he has already led 202 negotiations between consumers and banks, and 85% of his negotiations last years concluded with the parties coming to terms. The average time Septimiu Stoica needed to conclude a negotiation in 2021 was 25 days.

“After more than 200 negotiations where I listened to the parties and tried to propose solutions that both the consumers and the banks would find beneficial, I can say that I see now that the banks are over the denial phase they used to be in at start, and consumers are over their thirst for punishing or blaming it all on the banks. Consumers are better informed by the day, have acquired a deeper understanding of negotiation, and seem to be also better acquainted with the nuts and bolts of the bank lending gears. Slowly but surely, banks have stopped playing strictly by the law and the contractual terms, and now are genuinely willing to save their business with unhappy consumers. Moreover, they also gave up their uptight stance in the early days of banking conciliation, where they used to follow only the rules of for-profit-only institutions, and started to take up social, financial education and consumer support responsibilities. Banks seem increasingly more willingness to be generous, and make meaningful gestures for their customers in distress. To keep up this good work, I do believe that banks can even take one step further by introducing conciliation in their loan agreements, not only by providing information about ABDRC, but following the model of the business contracts which give priority to the amicable settlement of the potential disputes”, says Septimiu Stoica, ABDRC Conciliator

“We can say that efficiency is seen all over negotiations: the settlement time dropped to one third of the maximum term recommended under the Ordinance whereby ABDRC was established. Last year, this efficiency emerged from both the number of successfully concluded negotiations, as well as the amount of the benefits driven therefrom. We came close to negotiation benefits of EUR 2 million in just one year. For most of this, we need to thank our conciliators who have become genuine experts in aligning divergent opinions. Conciliators have taken the relationship between consumers and banks from lack of trust and conflict to dialogue, continued partnership and discontinuation of many court proceedings to find an amicable settlement”, says Alexandru PĂUNESCU, member of the ABDRC Steering Board.

Shorter Time to Fill Out an Application Online. The average time needed to fill out an application online on the website www.csalb.ro was of only 4 minutes and 14 seconds in 2021. This is shorter by close to one minute that in the previous year (2020), when an application used to be filled out in 5 minutes and 8 seconds. This reduction in the time of filling out an application shows that out IT tool is more accessible to consumers and that these are better informed about the conciliation procedure, as well as about the documents they need to attach to, and upload with, with their application on the Centre’s website. We remind consumers that an application has better chances of being accepted for negotiation by a bank and/or a NBFI when the situation accounted by a consumer in the application is accompanied by relevant supporting documents.

About ABDRC: ABDRC is an entity set up under a European Directive, and intermediates, free of charge and in not more than three months, negotiations between consumers and banks or NBFIs, for contracts/agreements in progress. Consumers from any county of the country may file applications with the Alternative Banking Dispute Resolution Centre (ABDRC) filling-in an online form directly on the website www.csalb.ro. Once the bank accepts to enter the conciliation/negotiation procedure, a conciliator is appointed. ABDRC works with 19 conciliators, of the best specialists in law and with relevant experience also in the financial and banking field. Everything is settled amicably, and the understanding between the parties has the power of court judgment. More information about the work of the Centre is available by phone at 021 9414 (charged a normal rate).