The annual growth rate for the non-governmental credit accelerated slightly in January to 33.8 percent from 33.7 percent the previous month, but the value in euros of the loans shrank by 1.45 billion euros following the depreciation of the leu.

“All banks, including OTP, have become more restrictive on segments like mortgages. But there is a risk that all segments of activity regarded as low risk until now turn out to be riskier,” Diosi said.

Potential cuts in the level of the required reserve ratio (RMO) in foreign currency-denominated liabilities set-up by banks will not guarantee the additional money stays inside the country as Romania, a member of the European Union (EU), is not allowed to impose such restrictions.

“The capital moves freely inside the EU bloc. This is why it is hard to imagine one could take measures to guarantee the money from banks is kept within borders. Money flows outside anyway when banks in Romania externalize credits to mother-lenders and the payback is counted directly abroad,” Diosi explained.

Banks in Romania have to monthly set up RMOs at 40 percent of their passives in foreign currency and at 18 percent for lei.

But neighboring Serbia for instance, which is not an EU member, has established a level of 45 percent for the RMOs in foreign currency, even higher than in Romania, and has recently prohibited for the resources to be withdrawn.

Moreover, the state grants substantial interest rate slashes for the acquisition of goods produced in Serbia.