BUSINESS BUSINESS ECONOMY FINANCE&BANKING

Banking institutions in Romania grant support for counteracting negative effects of COVID-19 pandemic on economic, social level

The Romanian Association of Banks (ARB) and the Council of Banking Employers in Romania (CPBR), organizations that represent all the active banking institutions on the Romanian market, grant support to clients and authorities regarding the limitation of negative effects on the individual economic welfare, Romania’s economy and public health and safety, in the context of the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus, according to a release issued on Monday.

In this context, the banking institutions are seeking individual technical and legal solutions to meet the needs of viable customers, from case to case, regarding the payment of ongoing credits. In order to implement such a measure in the support of customers that are facing liquidity issues generated by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic it’s necessary, following the analysis made together with regulators and auditors, for such measures granted by banks in exceptional conditions not to lead to deteriorating the risk profile for customers and the respective exposures, according to the European and national regulations regarding credit risk.

The organizations mention that the banking system has already forwarded in a proactive manner, both to the Government of Romania, as well as to the National Bank of Romania, a set of measures meant to allow it to be as well prepared to respond to requests from customers and to counteract the negative effects generated by the pandemic. The banking community is taking all the necessary steps to avoid major disturbances in the economy and to ensure the financing of the economy and the access of companies and individuals to essential services.

According to the quoted source, the banking sector treats with full responsibility the economic and public health challenges that may be generated by the pandemic. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic manifesting in Romania, at the level of the entire banking system plans with specific measures were adopted. The immediate concern of credit institutions was to adopt measures to protect the health of customers and bank personnel, but also from the perspective of ensuring the operational continuity of bank activity for aggravating situations. Banks in Romania have drawn up Business Continuity Plans (BCP) for critical situations, being prepared to honor the requests of clients regarding the functioning of cards and the reimbursements of payments, ensuring liquidity adequately, conducting activity in banking units, etc.

As an additional measure to ensure health, banks recommend to the population to make payments without cash, through modern means of payments made available by banks in Romania, as well as online payments and by card. Banks will inform clients constantly on the necessity to avoid as much as possible direct physical contact in branches and agencies. In this sense, banks will take measures through which they can serve their individual customers online, for as many products and services as possible.

“In this context, we believe that paramount is the adoption with celerity of the legislative draft by which the advanced electronic signature could fulfill as many of the functions of the qualified electronic signature as possible, which may constitute a real help for consumers,” the release says.

The Romanian banking system is prepared to face the challenges which may come up, being in dialogue with the Government, the National Bank of Romania and other public institutions.

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