Refinancing, switching to IRCC and fixed interest are the main ways Romanians have lowered their loan rates. Only 21% of Romanian consumers of financial products and services say they had problems with banks and NFIs in 2022 and 2023, according to a nationwide CURS survey conducted in July at the request of the Alternative Banking Dispute Resolution Centre (ABDRC). However, the rising cost of living (mainly due to utilities and higher food prices) has affected the majority of Romanian consumers, and more than half of them have found a way to reduce spending. Nearly a third of those surveyed point to saving as a solution to financial problems. From 12 to 25 July 2023, the Centre for Urban and Regional Sociology (CURS) conducted a quantitative survey, commissioned by ABDRC, on a sample of 1,067 respondents who are decision-makers or co-decision-makers in their household’s relationship with the bank.
The methodology used is based on a sample universe of households where at least one member of the household has had a relationship with a bank in the last 24 months. The maximum margin of error for the whole sample is +/-3% at 95% confidence level. Data collection was carried out by face-to-face interview at the respondents’ homes. The validation of the sample was based on the latest data provided by the National Institute of Statistics (INS). The data collected were not weighted.
The cause of financial problems and solutions to solve them
Two-thirds of respondents (70%) cite utilities as the main source of their financial problems, and 54% believe that food and medicine prices are the main source of the problems they face. Loan instalments are cited by 51% of respondents, and 40% cited fuel and transport costs as the source that most affects their spending. 15% of those surveyed say they have no financial problems.
In terms of how respondents are trying to manage or deal with general financial problems (not just with the bank), the data reveals that 55% have reduced spending on food, utilities and holidays, whereas 29% are saving and building up a reserve or emergency fund. Also, 26% of respondents say they have taken an extra job to cope with financial problems, and for 20% information and self-education is one of the solutions used to solve financial problems.