Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Romania: Bank Mediator aimed at settling client compensations

26 March 2007

The members of the Romanian Banks Association (ARB) are discussing a project to establish a Bank Mediator, an institution responsible for settling litigations arisen between credit institutions and their clients – individuals or judicial persons, ACT Media news agency reports.


The mediator will be authorized to settle claims against all products and services offered by the credit institutions contributing to its establishment. This free of charge service is aimed at improving the image of the banking system on one hand, and speed up claims settlement, stepping in instead of the judicial system for compensations no higher than 50,000 euros, on the other hand.

The ARB working group that currently handles the project includes representatives of the National Bank, Alpha Bank, BCR, ING, Raiffeisen Bank and recommends that the new institution be established as a volunteer-based, private, independent scheme, after a model broadly in use in the European Union.

(The alternative would be the establishment of a public institution with the mandatory participation of all credit institutions on the market.) However, the first variant is considered more flexible and easy to implement and adjust to the market’s response.

If the first variant is approved, the authors of the project say the necessary approvals from the cen.bank and the National Authority for the Consumer’s Protection (ANPC) can be obtained in April and the institution could be officially launched in November this year.

The new institution should be supervised by a Confidence Council, that appoints the banking mediator from the list of mediators authorized according to Law 192/2006.

The Council will ensure the institution’s independence and will be made up of National Bank, ANPC and bank representatives. According to the project, the Bank Mediator is necessary given the 'significant deficiencies in the current system for the protection of the consumer of financial products and services.'

With an increasing number of financial products and services appearing on the market, the client is exposed to higher risk, as familiarity with increasingly sophisticated banking and financial notions is required.

Source: ACT Media News Agency

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