Record benefits from the negotiations between consumers and banks in ABDRC

The average amount of the benefits obtained from the negotiations intermediated by the Alternative Banking Dispute Resolution Centre (ABDRC) has went up by close to 40%, up to EUR 3,700. Last year, the total benefits stemming from the negotiations between consumers and banks were in excess of EUR 1.3 million, the highest figure since the establishment of ABDRC, five years ago. The amount of the benefits obtained from the negotiations between consumers and banks/NBFIs in years 2016-2020 exceeded EUR 4 million.

The number of compliant applications received in 2020 makes an increase by approx. 18% v 2019. The number of cases (applications received by banks/NBFIs for negotiation in 2020 v 2019) dropped by 14%. The number of applications amicable settled in 2020 (directly by the parties, but after having reported the matter to ABDRC), has increased by 32% v the previous year.

The share of closed applications out of total applications dropped to 28% in 2020 (from 31% in 2019 and 45% in 2018). Many applications were closed for objective reasons. Thus, 435 applications were rejected by banks because they concerned deregistration from the Credit Office, “First House” loans, the State premium or assigned claims, meaning they concerned matters that are regulated under special laws. For 260 applications closed by banks, we believe that the reasons for such closure were unreasonable.

In 2020, consumers submitted 576 applications to NBFIs. Of these, only 22 applications turned into cases (were accepted for further negotiations). Other 63 applications were settled amicably (without going through the conciliation procedure).



The amount of the benefits obtained from the negotiations between consumers and banks/NBFIs during the five years of operation of ABDRC exceeded EUR 4 million. Considering the drop in the number of cases and the record amount of the benefits observed last year, the average amount of the benefits per case concluded with conciliation of the parties (resolution) has increased. While in 2019 the average amount/resolution was EUR 2,700, in 2020 this was EUR 3,700.



69% of the cases concluded with conciliation of the parties report benefits of less than EUR 5,000 (v 82% in 2019). For 31% of the cases concluded with conciliation of the parties, the amount of the benefits exceeds EUR 5,000 (v 18% in 2019).

The story of a consumer that approached ABDRC after deferring instalment payment for 9 months

Angela Pantiloiu, Sebeș: I had three loans taken from the same bank, but after my husband passed away, I could not repay them any longer from my pension of former teaching staff. This forced me to get employed again for two years. Last year I also took up on the 9-month instalment deferral offer, hoping that I would come around. I submitted my application with ABDRC on 7 January, however with only very low expectations. But, only two weeks later, I received a great joy. The conciliator Dragoș Gheorghe proposed merger of the loans into one and a 6-month interest-free period of grace. It was again the conciliator who proposed a decrease of the monthly instalment from lei 1,600 down to lei 1,200 over the las 30 months of the loan. Fortunately, the bank accepted, and the total reduction is of approximately EUR 4,000, in absence of which I really wonder how I would have managed.


Alexandru Păunescu, President of ABDRC Steering Board: All the messages that we have conveyed to consumers over the last year urged them to be prudent about deferring payment of their instalments, and reminded them of the benefits of negotiations in ABDRC, should their problems not be solved after the 9-month deferral. This case falls exactly into this category – a problem delayed for 9 months found a solution that covers the entire loan performance term in our Centre. Last year, the number of applications filed with ABDRC increased, but the number of cases decreases because the legislative and private moratoria sent consumers directly to banks – this being the easiest way out. On the other hand, in ABDRC, both the overall benefits and the average amount of the cases have increased, showing that we have increasingly more instances where banks are willing to give away more to consumers in negotiations. We hope to see this trend mainstreaming in 2021, as well as that the NBFIs and the banks less willing to negotiate with their retail clients follow the lead of the banks open to such solutions.




ABDRC’s recommendations for 2021

Consumers should be confident that the general solution for any problem they experience in their relations with banks or NBFIs is to apply for negotiations with the financial institution via ABDRC. Consumers should pay attention to the costs of deferring instalment payment! Those who don’t fall within the scope of the Ordinance (have overdue debts, have already deferred for 9 months, signed their loan agreements after 30 March 2020), or see the signs of a likely impossibility to repay the loan after the deferral period, can approach ABDRC. It is critical, however, that they don’t have overdue debts to the bank! Moreover, the legislative moratoria offers but one-size-fits-all solutions. With ABDRC, solutions are customized. Thus, they should not compared their own situation against the solutions obtained by other consumers, but they should aim at finding a solution that best addresses their needs in negotiations.

We urge the banks to make the same or even more use of the conciliation provided by ABDRC to address their disputes with clients, and to work more with the Centre, particularly in the context of the sanitary crisis. We believe that any support that a bank can afford a consumer is both important and welcomed, even when it comes further to applications of currently effective piece of legislation, the review of an application filed via ABDRC, or direct negotiations conducted with consumers in which the parties succeed in finding an amicable solution together. Closure of the application should be a last resort solution. We notice that in 2020, the closure rate in ABDRC, across the entire banking system, is decreasing: from 28% in 2020 v 31% in 2019. Still, the good piece of news is that the average rate of applications unreasonably closed by the top 5 banks (according to the number of applications received) is 17%. This is better than the maximum 20% ABDRC recommended last year. For this year, we recommend all financial banking and non-banking institutions to target this maximum 20% ceiling, particularly because this would reinforce the confidence of consumers in the financial and banking system.

NBFIs are still rather tempted not to act upon the negotiation requests of their clients. This is most likely due to the low value of the loan agreement concluded on this market compared to the banking market. We believe that the amount of the benefits should not be a criterion for accepting conciliation, but the satisfaction and loyalty of consumers. Positive examples can be seen also on the NBFI market. Provident, one of the largest Non-Banking Financial Institution in Romania, committed to a more consistent partnership with ABDRC in 2021. We invite the other NBFIs to do the same and see conciliation of the relation with their clients as a long-term business strategy. Last year, only two NBFIs accepted to negotiate with consumers (Credit Europe Ipotecar IFN and Axi Finance IFN).


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 When 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).