The Romanian banking industry, through the the Romanian Banking Association (ARB) and the Banking Employers’ Council from Romania (CPBR), has adopted the new Code of Conduct, a document that highlights compliance with the principles of banking ethics in relation to all stakeholders in the banking system and focuses on the protection of consumers who have financial difficulties.
“The banking industry’s Code of Conduct, which revises the Banking Code of Ethics approved in 2009, is implemented by each credit institution in Romania and aims to increase the focus on customer interests in relation to banks and public confidence in the financial and banking system, by balancing the standards of integrity and ethics applicable between banks and their partners such as customers, authorities and employees. In their business, banks will strive to balance the interests of customers, users of credit products or depositors, shareholders, investors, employees, as well as collaborators,” the representatives of the two organizations said.
The Code of Conduct includes, for the first time, a special chapter entitled “Principles of Good Banking and Banking Practice for Bankers in Dealing with Consumers Facing Situations of Difficulty Paying or Representing a Social Case” to protect consumers. In developing these principles, the banking community has taken into account recommendations from associations for the protection of financial services consumers.
“The new Code of Conduct has emerged from the understanding and desire to assume the responsibilities of the banking system towards its clients and, broadly, towards the Romanian society. Today, 9 years after the launch of the first Code of Ethics for Industry, we re-establish, based on the highest standards of ethics and professionalism, how we relate to all of our partners, and especially to our customers. The Code sets new standards of ethics and conduct rules, which will be followed at the level of the entire banking industry. A 360-degree complete approach is regulated – inter-bank relationships, between banks and customers, between credit institutions and authorities, between them and employees and between employees within the banking system. This creates a unique, transparent and predictable framework for the conduct of activity in internal and external banking system,” said Sergiu Oprescu, chairman of the Board of Directors of the ARB.
In turn, CPBR President Sergiu Manea claims that the new Code of Conduct supports a “substantial and constructive” dialogue with customers.
“We are determined to engage in a substantial and constructive dialogue with our customers, and the new Code of Conduct supports this direction. Romania needs a massive infusion of confidence and we believe that the banking system can contribute more actively to raising the level of trust in society, by assuming the past, accepting the present and engaging in the creation of prosperity in Romania,” said Manea.
By means of the principles contained in the new Code of Conduct, a general framework of conduct of banks is established in relation to debtors in a situation of difficulty of payment or in respect of which such a situation is imminent, as well as in relation to debtors representing social cases.
Banks will also work with consumer borrowers and provide support and advice to identify solutions to overcome their deadlock. The Code of Conduct also provides for the obligation of banks to ensure the continuous training and specialization of their staff.
“Borrowers are encouraged to proactively address situations/alter their life situations, to respond promptly to the bank’s requests, in particular, to provide information to resolve the case, including information about their financial situation, and to open the door for discussing the various solutions proposed by the bank,” the press release said.
The new Code of Conduct adopted by the entire banking community is based on fundamental principles such as reciprocity, trust, impartiality, non-discrimination, competence and professionalism, respect for the law and rules of professional ethics, integrity, confidentiality and protection of personal data.
These fundamental principles will govern the activity of banking industry members in all the aforementioned relationships.
In order to implement the provisions of the Code and to monitor the manner in which it is complied with, ARB was a Jury of Honor. The Jury of Honor will address cases of breach of the Code of Conduct by any member, those arising from relations between the member banks and between them and the authorities.
The Romanian Banking Association concentrates the entire banking market in Romania consisting of 35 active credit institutions as Romanian and foreign legal entities in the financial sector and expanded by including six new affiliated members, non-banking companies. ARB has a 27-year tradition and has been a member of the European Banking Federation since 1991 (full rights in 2007), the European Payments Council, the European Mortgage Federation, the European Banking Institute, and 26 national lucrative development bodies and improving the economic framework.
For this, the banking community provides more than 800 specialists participating in the 24 technical committees.
The Banking Employers’ Council in Romania was set up as the first banking organization in Romania on 28 April 2014. The founding banks of CPBR were Banca Comerciala Romana, BRD – Groupe Societe Generale, Raiffeisen Bank and UniCredit Bank. The five banks currently comprised of CPBR, namely the Romanian Commercial Bank, Raiffeisen Bank, UniCredit Bank, ING Bank and Bancpost, account for over one third of all banking assets in the system, accounting for about 30% of all banking system employees.
CPBR seeks to contribute to increasing confidence in the Romanian banking system and to Romania’s economic development both as part of the Social Dialogue and by raising banking standards as the basis for the real protection of consumers.