Lending conditions will be modified in January 2009, according to BNR’s first vice governor, however the chairman of Romanian Association of Banks (ARB), Radu Ghetea, is not very optimistic with central bank’s decision to loosen the lending regulation. Nevertheless, specialists see the review of the regulation to unclog lending as a necessary measure.

Ghetea is not ‘very optimistic’ about the central bank’s decision

Chairman of ARB, Radu Ghetea, said he is not ‘very optimistic’ about the central bank’s decision on the new lending regulation, saying he does not think that BNR will make any decision in this matter sooner than the next monetary policy session.

“I sent a note to the central bank two days ago, mentioning what measures we think are necessary to streamline lending activity, based on which the lending will continue, given the international climate”, said the chairman of ARB, Radu Gratian Ghetea.

He added that ARB’s point of view forwarded to the central bank includes “only a part of what we had initially submitted to the Ministry of Economy and Finance”, the current version enclosing opinions drawn together with the minister.

“I don’t think BNR could make any decision sooner than the next monetary policy session”, Ghetea added.

All in all, chairman of ARB said he hoped the bankers would meet with the representatives of BNR to talk on the measures that should be taken into consideration in the midst of international crisis.

Bankers and BNR seek resolution to resume lending

Officials of National Bank of Romania, of Ministry of Economy and Finance and of ARB met on Monday night to review the economic-financial situation and seek resolution to resume lending activities.

Bankers proposed to Ministry of Economy and Finances the subsidization of interests for loans granted to small and medium sized enterprises, that reel from a full-blown economic crisis, and allowable deduction of installments paid for the mortgage loans, said yesterday Radu Ghetea.

“I talked to the Government on the subsidization of interests for loans granted to SMEs. They are undergoing a tough selection process at this point, and now they have to deal with an aggressive crisis. We must protect those who worth it. After the accession to EU, SMEs were imposed additional measures of environment protection, sanitary protection and now, one by one, are shutting down or merge,” said the chairman of ARB on Thursday.

He added that “there is the peril of too many shutdowns of SME”, and the representative of the banks said the Government should focus more on backing up small and medium size enterprises.
Ghetea forecasts that another effect of the crisis will be the arrival of many Romanian workers from abroad.

“I believe many Romanian citizens will come back in their home country, and will take many of the vacant jobs, because they will be better trained in their field in more motivated.

He also mentioned that officials of the banks talked with the Government on drawing a rescue plan for speeding the absorption of European funds.

During the meeting of Ministry of Economy and Finance with National Bank of Romania, that took place earlier this week, the bankers proposed a resolution to enhance confidence between banks, for example a system designed to secure the inter-bank transactions.

As for a plan to back up the banking system, Ghetea said that if necessary, the plan should comprise the whole banking system, and not only the institutions with local capital “given the fact that the problem is to save the clients rather than the bank”.

Translated by Camelia Oancea

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