Romanians Look for Solutions to Reduce Their Instalments. What Is the Response of the Banks: The Lowest Ever Rejection Rate and the Highest Ever Number of Direct Settlements
- Aug 29, 2022
- In Press releases
Since the start of the year, more than 1,700 consumers have filed applications intended at banks and NBFIs via the Alternative Banking Dispute Resolution Centre (ABDRC). Most of them seek solutions to have their instalments affected by the rise in prices and floating interest reduced. Credit institutions responded with a rate of applications unreasonably rejected below 4%. Moreover, in August, the amount of the benefits obtained further to negotiations between credit institutions and consumers in 2022 has already exceeded the same amount of the entire 2020, i.e. EUR 1.3 million.
Alexandru Păunescu, representative of the National Bank of Romania in the ABDRC’s Steering Board: “We see that banks have managed efficiently both the pandemic, and the wide-scale rise in prices and interest rates. The requests to switch from ROBOR to IRCC is an example. At ABDRC, we received 50 such requests, which is a sign that, most likely, the banks have dealt internally with such requests. However, there could be also the case where the consumer was initially turned down by the bank, but after approaching ABDRC, the credit institution reconsidered its position; this shows that credit institutions are flexible in negotiating with consumer, even when their policy does not provide for an automatic switch based on a simple application.
It should be also noted that when a consumer fills pout an application on the ABDRC website, they tick only one subject of the application, but enclose a number of documents, and give an account of their financial standing. This information is received by the departments of the commercial banks that work directly with ABDRC. And there, these applications are carefully reviewed on a case-by-case and customized basis. Thus, in certain particularly difficult situations, request for instalment reduction can, for instance, receive solutions whereby the entire debt is written off”.
Negotiations concluded with reconciliation of the parties
- For the consumer C.I., after negotiations, the bank wrote off the entire debt related to an overdraft and a credit card which, together, amounted to approximately RON 20,000 on 8 August 2022;
- The consumer F.G. will pay to the bank the amount of EUR 38,000 after the same of the property mortgaged in favour of the bank (the sale will be handle by the consumer). Once this amount is paid, the bank will remit the debt of approximately EUR 24,000, which is the balance between the total amount payable and EUR 38,000;
- After negotiations, the consumer M.D. obtained a solution allowing her to pay only the interest and the management fee (EUR 55) for three months, instead of the instalment of EUR 350. Thus, for a personal loan, this consumer will no longer pay interest on interest.
What do the consumers who negotiated with banks say?
Ioana Rusu, Bucharest: “In 2007, I took a mortgage loan to buy an apartment. In parallel, we also pay instalments for a personal loan we took to buy a car. The loan for the apartment was taken for 25 years. We still have to pay RON 110,000, i.e. monthly instalments for 10 years. Over the last year, the instalment for the apartment increased significantly, which left us, a family with two small children, very worried since our income has been stalling for years. However, as always, we did our best not to delay payment of the instalments. Then, we learned about ABDRC. We filed the application online, attached also supporting documents, and asked for a reduction of the principal and, implicitly, of the instalments. But we received more than we had asked for! The bank wrote off all the debt. This incredible piece of news almost brought tears to my eyes. It’s hard to find words to describe what this decision means to us. We received more than we had hoped for, and we are very grateful for this wonderful gift. I think that our encounter with ABDRC was God’s way of working out a miracle for our family”.
Florin Cobuz, Bucharest: “After the bank attached my income for a loan I had taken back in 2014, the overdue payments and penalties ended up amounting to RON 25,000, for a loan of RON 35,000. And this because the payment transfers were made into the wrong account. The bank wrote off RON 18,500 of this amount, and I paid RON 5,000, plus the cost of the court bailiff. The solution we reached seems to me a very good one, and I would give more than the maximum grade to the conciliator for his involvement! Initially, the bank refused to deal with the issue. I even hired a lawyer, whom I eventually didn’t need because ABDRC helped me solve the problem in 45 days, and I remained also in cordial relations with the bank”.
The lowest ever rate of closed cases in ABDRC’s history
The applications unreasonably rejected by banks have dropped in 2022 to an all-time law since the establishment of ABDRC: 3.7% of the total. Further to the requests made by ABDRC with banks, concerning applications that had been initially rejected, the banks reconsidered their initial opinion and accepted them for negotiation. The application for deregistration from the Credit Register is considered an objective reason for closing the case because these are not negotiable claims, and consumers may approach the banks directly for this. In 2022, the banks and NBFIs received more than 700 such requests via ABDRC, compared to 1,173 such requests in 2021.
- The amount of the benefits obtained further to negotiations conducted via ABDRC 2016 – 2022) is in excess of EUR 7 million.
- Since 2016, approximately 3,700 consumes made peace with banks and NBFIs via ABDRC (by conciliation and facilitating direct settlements between the parties)
- To date, ABDRC reports the highest ever number of amicable settlements/year: 361. This figure confirms that banks have mainstreamed the negotiation-based settlement mechanisms advanced by ABDRC.
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. 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).