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August 10, 2022

BNR pleads for banking ombudsman

The National Bank of Romania (BNR) proposes the setting up, in the second half of April, of an inter-institutional working group that would start making overtures for the creation of a body for the settlement of disputes between the beneficiaries of financial services and the suppliers of those services, Alexandru Paunescu, Director of BNR’s Legal Directorate, stated on Monday at a seminar titled “Alternative dispute resolution in the banking domain.”

“From our point of view, even though the deadline is pretty close (the deadline for the implementation of European Directive 11/2013, namely 9 July 2015 – editor’s note), the adoption of a national legal framework requires analysis. In this sense, BNR proposes the setting up of an inter-institutional working group that would start working in the second half of April. What we want to do is to find long-term remedies to recent experiences in order to improve the client-bank relationship that is only apparently antagonistic,” Paunescu explained.

He pointed out that today most consumers of financial services go directly to court in order to settle their disputes with the suppliers of financial services, because the efficiency of alternative mechanisms such as mediation is minimal, and these mechanisms are ignored by consumers as a result.

“Mediation can be considered an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedure in the sense of the directive. The experience of almost a decade since the adoption of the law shows that the mediation procedure is not working satisfactorily, with there being a low percentage of consumers that resort to a mediator in order to solve a dispute,” the BNR official added, pointing out that the main shortcoming of mediation is that it does not guarantee any result and in most cases the sides involved are looking for solutions.

He also stated that at European level the predominant form of ADR is the ombudsman, where the decision or recommendation is issued by a single ombudsman or a group of ombudsmen.

“I personally believe that extra-judicial procedures could represent a real alternative solution for dispute resolution, as long as the solution is offered by a third party specializing in the domain of the dispute. The mandatory or optional character is an issue that has to be clarified,” the BNR Director added.



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