NPLs represented 6.2 percent of the total credit portfolio granted by BCR at mid-year, with a coverage rate for NPLs of around 126 percent, according to the financial report published by the lender yesterday.

Bruynseels said that most of these non-performing loans came from the consumer credit segment, as the situation stabilized on the mortgage sector after the leu braked its fall, NewsIn states.

However, Bruynseels does not think operating conditions on the market will improve significantly in the second semester.

On the consumer credit side, there are also risks tied to the increased unemployment, he said, adding the weight of retail credits in the bank's portfolio was slashed and the situation will not change in the following six months, maybe except for the Prima Casa (First House) incentive program.

Bruynseels considers the Prima Casa program is a good idea because it brings confidence to the market and estimates the announced level of the loans will be reached.

The government fixed a ceiling of 1 billion euros for guarantees given in this program. Some 19 lenders have already subscribed for the program and BCR has the highest announced volume, of over 300 million euros.

The BCR head said the credit/deposit ratio is going down at BCR but that it will not reach 100 percent soon.

Regarding the number of employees, this will exceed 8,700 at year-end at the banking business level, compared to 8,900 at present.

The executive director of Erste Group Bank, Andreas Treichl, declared yesterday that Erste does not intend to lay off employees in Romania and BCR will continue to extend its network by opening 50 new units by the end of the year.

BCR cut ribbon for 11 new units in the first semester reaching a total 652 units at the end of June 2009, 64 more than on the similar date last year.

Personnel inside the BCR group fell by 8.2 percent to 9,170 in the first half of the year.