OTP Bank representatives claim that they have taken the necessary steps to implement the legislative framework as rigorously and correctly as possible, since the publication of Emergency Ordinance 37/2020 on the suspension of the payment of installments, noting that certain provisions of the texts of the pieces of legislation create difficulties of interpretation.
The clarification was made as a response to the Credere release, an association that asked the Ministry of Public Finance to start a thematic control at commercial banks, "in the context that OTP Bank is violating the Government's Emergency Ordinance 37/2020 on the suspension of payment of installments, receiving undue amounts from consumers in Romania".
The Credere officials noted in the press release that "OTP Bank has reclassified mortgage-backed personal needs loans into the category of consumer loans, which implies the application of the formula 'interest on interest' and the unlawful increase of the amounts that the bank will collect from the borrower, to the latter's detriment".
In their turn, the OTP Bank officials argue that "certain provisions of the pieces of legislation texts create difficulties of interpretation, by using sometimes unclear wording that can be interpreted differently".
"We have taken note of the diversified interpretations in the market and are currently taking steps to obtain clarifications from the state authorities, including the Ministry of Public Finance, so that if it is necessary to reclassify these situations on the basis of the clarifications provided, all necessary operations will be carried out within the suspension period, without causing any harm or disadvantage to the clients. We would also like to point out that there is currently no affected customer, as the calculation of deferred interest payments will only take effect when the deadline for the suspension of payment of installments expires," maintain the OTP Bank representatives.
According to the bank, the mortgage is defined as a loan granted by a creditor to a physical debtor, secured with a mortgage on an immovable property, and a credit involving a right linked to an immovable property, as regulated by the Government Emergency Ordinance 52/2016 on credit agreements offered to consumers for immovable property, with subsequent amendments and additions, as well as for the modification and completion of the Government Emergency Ordinance 50/2010 on consumer credit agreements. The representatives of the bank also refer to the loans granted under the 'First House' programme, approved by the Government Emergency Ordinance 60/2009 on some measures for the implementation of the 'First House' programme, approved with amendments and additions by Law 368/2009, with subsequent amendments and additions.
"The definition given by the legislator was to express certain characteristics of mortgages by reference to two cumulative conditions to be met, by using the phrase 'and': secured with a mortgage and involving a right linked to immovable property", according to OTP Bank representatives.
The bank's release states that these phrases, related to the previous expressions in the text of the definition referring to the provisions of the Government Emergency Ordinance 52/2016 on credit agreements offered to consumers for immovable property and government Emergency Ordinance 60/2009 on some measures for the implementation of the 'First House' programme have created premises for the interpretation offered by the bank on the classification of credits in the category of personal needs guaranteed by mortgage in the category of personal needs loans.