Collective lawsuits against banks regarding the abusive clauses of loan contracts might be appealed at the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ – the Supreme Court), as an exception to the law, because verdicts in this type of litigations are applicable to a large number of citizens, BNR deputy governor Bogdan Olteanu said in the seminar ‘Legal consequences generated by the enforcement of modifications to Law 193/2000 on the abusive clauses of contracts signed by professional and consumers,” an event included in the series of events’ The Legal Colloquiums of BNR,’ 9th edition, Mediafax reports. Initially, the opening session should have been attended by BNR Governor Mugur Isarescu and the Minister of Justice Mona Pivniceru, who could not attend the debates.The position of BNR coincides with the option of banks, which request a derogation to be permitted in the case of lawsuits over abusive clauses, so the final say belongs to ICCJ, instead of Appeal Courts, as provided by the Civil Code. Bogdan Olteanu added that the mission of BNR is to secure the functioning of the financial system, but not to protect a certain bank and its shareholders. He reminded that public money was never used to save banks in Romania, and when banks had losses, they sustained them on their own and bank shareholders contributed their own cash to stay within the limits of prudential indicators.The BNR deputy governor explained that the Central Bank collaborated with state institutions, the Ministry of Public Finance and the Ministry of Justice on making an impact study regarding the banking system and organising a public debate on the collective lawsuits against banks over abusive clauses.Olteanu added that, through the modifications brought to loan contracts by OUG 50/2010, which compelled banks to transforming variable interest rates referring to internal instalments into interests calculated according to a reference indicator (ROBOR/Euribor/LIBOR) plus a fixed margin, consumers could not benefit from the improvement of the country perception, reflected in a smaller CDS today.The deputy governor also explained that the abusive clause must not be present in a contract. “The abusive character of a clause must result from a law. In principle, of course it may be an instance,” Olteanu said.
Paunescu: Customers started feeling the effects of their own negligence
The angry customers, the same who, few years ago, enthusiastically signed contracts without caring for their terms, now started to feel the effects of their own negligence, Alexandru Nicolae Paunescu, head of BNR’s Legal Department said in the same event, quoted by bizlawyer.ro. According to the BNR official, consumer associations became more vocal.
In Romania, 3.8 million individuals are indebted to banks
In Romania there are 3.8 million individual bank debtors and 17.1 million deposits, BNR deputy governor Bogdan Olteanu announced yesterday. “The money for the crediting process largely comes from deponents, rather than from bank shareholders,” he added. “Or, it is very important for the National Bank to make sure that the money taken as loans are repaid not for helping the shareholder, because it does not return to shareholders, but to protect deposits, because deposits can be returned to their owners from the money that is being repaid,” Olteanu mentioned.
Toader, KPMG: Banks stopped being a growth driver
The banking system stopped being a driver of growth, believes Serban Toader, Senior Partner and Head of Advisory with KPMG Romania, quoted by HotNews.ro. “Fresh money enters the system, however not for crediting, but for increasing own funds or covering losses in excess of RON 2 bln. Some banks might be affected also in terms of image and reputation,” he warned.Toader also considers that the relation between bank and customer seems to have deviated from what it should be. “Banks must regain the confidence of consumers and conceive new products necessary both for them and their customers,” the KPMG official mentioned.