Negotiations conducted through the Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution in Banking (CSALB) brought a benefit of EUR 1.015 million to both consumers and the entire banking system in Romania, said Alexandru Paunescu, a member of the CSALB Coordinating College.
He pointed out that the amount represents a decrease in the payment effort for Romanian consumers, obtained in 2018 and, at the same time, allows for the continuation of the contractual relations between the two parties. Compared to the value registered in 2017, the amount in 2018 is over three times higher.
“While in 2017 Romanian consumers obtained a decrease in their payment efforts of EUR 303,000 after negotiations with the banks, the increase recorded last year is remarkable. Exceeding the EUR 1 million threshold shows, on one hand, the fact that more consumers have chosen the way of dialogue through CSALB in exchange for settling court litigation and, on the other hand, the banks’ willingness to negotiate,” said Alexandru Paunescu.
He said at the conference that euro’s growth against the leu and the ROBOR growth did not lead to an increase in consumer demand.
Also, Mircea Stroe, a conciliator at CSALB, said that in the short term the increase of the euro and ROBOR would not generate an increase of the requests.
The most important case, resolved by the CSALB conciliators last year, was the one of a Bucharest consumer who obtained a reduction of their payment effort of almost EUR 39,000. In this case, the bank accepted the future cancellation of the management fee and the repayment of the credit granting fee. The same consumer also obtained, through CSALB, the cancellation of the EUR 18,000 balance for a loan with another bank.
Alexandru Păunescu said the year 2018 brought important results: consumer cases exceeded the 1,000 threshold and ended the year at 1,293. In 2017 only 505 applications were registered. The number of files set up in 2018 increased by 255 percent compared to the number of cases filed in the previous year: from 214 dossiers in 2017 to 550 cases in 2018. Out of these cases, 90 percent were favorably settled by the parties.
The Center’s activity has been made more effective last year by introducing an online application where consumers can submit their reconciliation requests. Since the introduction of the application, end of July, and by the end of the year, 365 applications came directly from the site, with the help of the application (accounting for about 30 percent of the total number of compliant applications registered in 2018).
Also, Alexandru Paunescu said that this year CSALB will continue the consumer information campaign through the CSALB Caravan. In 2018, the representatives of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Center in the Banking Sector have presented the benefits of consumer conciliation in Timisoara, Cluj – Napoca, Constanta and Iasi.
This year, the CSALB Caravan aims to reach other important cities in the country, such as Craiova, Brasov, Sibiu or Oradea. Consumers can find out that the whole procedure is free of charge for them and the time for resolving a file is up to 90 days. In addition, from conciliators accompanying this CSALB Caravan, they can get direct information on how negotiations are taking place with the banks. Also for better communication with consumers, this year CSALB will also implement a call-center system.
The Alternative Dispute Resolution Center for Banking (CSALB) is an autonomous, non-governmental, apolitical, non-lucrative legal entity of public interest, with legal personality, set up under Government Ordinance no. 38/2015 on alternative dispute resolution between consumers and traders, transposing at national level Directive 2013/11 / EU on alternative dispute resolution for consumer disputes and amending Regulation (EC) No. 2006/2004 and Directive 2009/22 / EC.