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Romania.

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Representatives: Gheorghe Piperea
Consumers Association: Asociatia Parakletos. Facebook.
Contact: office@asociatia-parakletos.ro

 

 

FX LOANS IN ROMANIA – FACTS

When FX loans were sold in ROMANIA?
The loans were sold between 2006-2008
Who was the target?
Target → people; perhaps few loans were sold also to the companies but 99% of them were taken by physical persons.
Which banks offer or have been offering FX loans?
The FX loans were offered by subsidiairies/branches of foreign banks. 14 banks have in their portfolio FX loans but among them 95% are concentrated on 6 banks: 32% Bancpost (subsidiary of a Greek bank – Eurobank Ergasias SA), 24% Volksbank (subsidiary of Volksbank Austria, Österreichische Volksbanken – AG (ÖVAG)), 20% Piraeus Bank (subsidiary of a Greek bank – Piraeus Bank Greece), 11% Raiffeisen (subsidiary of Austrian Bank Raiffeisen – Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI)), 7% Banca Romaneasca (subsidiary of a Greek bank – National Bank of Greece) and 2% OPT (subsidiary of Hungarian bank – OTP Bank Hungary).
Thus the main percentage of FX loans is held by Greek and Austrian banks. A mention for OTP – they sold 90% of their portfolio of FX loans to OTP Hungary and OPT Holand, thus those loans don’t appear anymore on Romanian statistics even the debtors are Romanian citizens.
When and why would people in Romania take FX loans rather than loans in euros?
The people from Romania take FX loans rather than loans in euros because the interest rate was lower than for loans in EURO or local currency LEI. For example a loan at Volksbank in 2007 has an interest of 3,99% or 4,25% for CHF; in EURO was sold with an interest as 5,95% and for LEI the interest was around 12%. A consequence of a lower interest was that a certain category of people did not qualify for EUR, LEI loans as their debt grade was greater that 70% (the maximum debt grade for loans from 2006-2008) and thus the only options for them remains a FX loan. Another reason was that all banks sold those loans as a stable ones and presented to the debtors CHF as the most stable currency from the world.
Were people informed about the risk when they took these loans?
No information about risks was provided. Moreover as I stated before CHF currency was presented as the most stable from the world.
In which currencies are the loans mostly indexed?
CHF → 75.000 debtors according to National Bank of Romania (BNR), 8% from total number of credits (according to our estimations the percentage is higher as some loans were sold to other entities); were sold also few credits in JPY (Less than 0,5% of total credit portfolio, most of them were closed or refinanced.
What happened when consumers took banks to court for the FX loans?
There are 2 individual cases won by the clients:

  1. 4831/121/2014 – Galati Court
  2. 1730/114/2014- Buzau Court

In these causes the justice decided that the loan should be denominated (reimbursed at the course of CHF from the according date – approximately 2 lei/CHF; Now the course is 4,2 lei/CHF thus the costs increased more that 100%)
There are any others causes which are in progress.
Unfortunately there are some causes won by the banks so for the moment there is no unitary practice in Romania related to these causes.
Unfortunately in Romania the government decided to do nothing regarding this problem and asked banks to negotiate individually with affected people. We hope that for the future the government will be inspired by the actions  taken by other country (like Hungary for example) in order to protect their population by these toxic loans that doubled the financial effort for families in just 5 or 6 years.

ABOUT PARAKLETOS CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION

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boardPARAKLETOS is a Romanian nonprofit consumer association that was founded in 2014 and now it has around 4200 members.

The aim of the organization is to protect and promote the rights and interests of the consumers inside and outside the country. The association fights against economical abuses which manifests especially by the abusive clauses inserted in the contracts between consumers and economical entities.

On short term Parakletos intent to eliminate all abusive clauses from banking contracts intervening in the court clauses opened between ANPC (National Authority for Consumers Protection) and eleven Romanian banks.

On medium and long term, the Association will start a network of at least 10 branches in different districts in order to formulate actions in justice according to articles 12 and 13 from Law 193/2000 which permits to consumers associations to begin court cases in order to eliminate abusive clauses from all contracts of all consumers.

Other purpose of the association is to educate from financial point of view the population in order to protect citizen interests and rights.

The association was an initiative of Gheorghe Piperea, lawyer and professor in law which is its president. The members of the board of the association are: Ana-Maria Masoud, Beatrice Aldea, Calu Monica, Ilie Balasoiu and Bogdan Constantin Istrate.

 

 

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