The new First Home program, by which the state guarantee will cover only half of the value of the loan, can only be accessed by low risk banks, for which the lending norms approved by the National Bank of Romania (BNR) allow a minimum advance of 10 pc of the loan, Mediafax reports. Thus, in order to request an advance of only 5 pc, a bank’s norms have to offer the possibility of applying an advance rate of 10 pc out of the total loan. Many credit institutions were forced, however, by the central bank to apply a minimum advance above 10 pc on loans to the population, of 15 pc, most often. The chairman of the Romanian Banks’ Association, Radu Ghetea, argues that merchant banks which approved, by their norms, a minimum advance of over 10 pc and which wish to take part in the new First Home program can apply to the central bank for the modification of internal norms. This operation, Ghetea urther said, is necessary not only for new loans, but also for loans already granted through the First Home program, for which the sovereign guarantee will be sliced by half .