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“Perfect storm” that “calls for a crisis”: Bankers – about “greed ordinance”

de Razvan Diaconu , 21.1.2019

The most important bankers in Romania say that the effects of the tax on greed will be very serious and difficult to repair over time. After the new tax targeting the banking system entered into force, the first reaction of those affected is to block investments.

The President of the Romanian Association of Banks spoke Friday about the “perfect storm” created by the Government with the ordinance that “calls for the crisis”.

The Romanian Association of Banks and the Council of Banking Employers in Romania organised a conference on the “Challenges of the banking industry in the year of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union”.

Sergiu Manea (BCR): We revise all investment plans

Sergiu Manea, CEO of Banca Comerciala Romana, said that the bank plans to postpone its investment plans following the introduction of the new tax for banks.

We have under review all investment plans we had until now,” Sergiu Manea said Friday at the ARB-CPBR conference. He said they made this decision because the bank must create “a viable economic model.”

Postponing investment leads to lower confidence in the economy, and this will show us that there will be “fewer people to take on loans,” said BCR representative.

Omer Tetik (BT): We have reinvested profits for 25 years, we are now wondering why

Banca Transilvania was planning to renovate more than 200 bank agencies, and that means dozens of construction companies will not get those contracts, announced Omer Tetik, General Manager of Banca Transilvania.

The Emergency Ordinance was published at the end of 2018, today is January 18 and we have no ideas. After a very good year, we could not enjoy the point we reached. This local bank, after 25 years in which we reinvested the profit in the bank’s capital – we spent more than RON 1.7 billion on Swiss franc loan converting programs, we could have chosen to have litigations and see if we were winning – now we wonder why we have not given the money to the bank’s shareholders. People had trust. And BT is almost a foreign bank. Almost 60% is Romanian capital. We do not have a chance to place our assets somewhere. We trusted the country, the country trusted us and we granted loans to SMEs,” the head of BT said.

According to him, BT will not raise interest rates on loans.

Customers cannot digest aggressive increases in interest rates. We will reduce investment, train fewer people. We do not want to transfer the burden to our customers. It is not their fault. We have a responsibility, we need to be very selective,” mentioned Omer Tetik, who also said it is possible that fewer SMEs will receive loans from Banca Transilvania.

Radu Ghetea (CEC): Let’s see how the shareholder will manage the situation

Even though cec Bank check is a private law bank with state-owned capital, the bank Chairman Radu Ghetea says he is concerned about finding solutions to the effects of Ordinance 114.

“We are a private law state-owned bank – this is the right definition. We have no other concerns or advantages or disadvantages than all banks in the banking system have.

We are concerned about finding solutions to how the OUG will produce its effects. We need to find a way to reduce spending, reduce investment. We also have a characteristic: the capital is state-owned, let’s see how the shareholder will manage the situation,” said Radu Ghetea.

Sergiu Oprescu (ARB): This is the ordinance that calls for the crisis

Sergiu Oprescu, ARB President, believes that the package of laws regulating the relationship between banks and clients along with the emergency ordinance that introduces the “tax on greed” form the “perfect storm” for the Romanian economy.

This tax is simply not sustainable. The average bank profit is 0.44% relative to assets, and you, the state, want to apply a tax of 1.2%, that is, three times the profit. It is obvious that this tax is not sustainable. We simply could not predict such a decision. It is very close to the concept of imprecision. The predictability, and especially the impact of the lack of predictability, is huge and very difficult to repair. We do not have time to repair … The grounds for a perfect storm is being created. Only the ordinance alone is enough to create the tsunami about which we are discussing. For the economy, it creates a perfect storm. It is an ordinance that calls for the crisis!” Oprescu said.

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