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Raiffeisen Bank to refund to customers any amounts collected in excess


Raiffeisen Bank proceeded to implement the ANPC (National Authority for Consumer Protection) order according to which the management fee could not be included in the interest margin for the restructuring of the loans, and after the restoration of the calculations, the bank will return to the clients any amounts collected in excess, the bank's representatives told AGERPRES.

"The court's decision is from the year 2020 and does not establish amounts of payment by the bank. Based on the decision, the bank proceeded to implement the ANPC order according to which the management fee could not be included in the interest margin when restructuring the loans. Thus, after re-calculating the calculations according to the principle that the interest margin and the commission are distinct elements, the bank will return to the customers any amounts collected in excess, and in the situation of customers to whom this calculation would result in amounts to be paid in excess by customers, the bank will give up these amounts in order not to affect the customers. All these aspects were communicated by the bank to the ANPC at the end of 2020. The impact of these steps cannot be accurately determined at this time," bank officials said.

The Credere Association announced on Thursday that Raiffeisen Bank has definitively lost a lawsuit with the National Authority for Consumer Protection, in which no less than 14,000 customers are affected and the damage caused to debtors is over 10 million euros, Agerpres informs.

"Through restructuring operations of some credit agreements concluded before 2010, taking advantage of the vulnerable state of the debtors in difficulty of payment, Raiffeisen Bank significantly increased the interest for the full contractual period, under the promise of eliminating some commissions that, in fact, were introduced in the interest rate related to the loan. As a consequence, for a facility granted to the debtor for a short period of time (6 months), the client was to pay an interest rate increased by 20 pct for all the contractual period remaining until the due date," the association's press release reads.

The association mentions that the practice of the bank was sanctioned by the National Authority for Consumer Protection through the Order issued by the President of ANPC no. 280/09.07.2014, in accordance with Law 363/2007 on unfair commercial practices.

Raiffeisen Bank challenged the respective Order, and by successive decisions of the Bucharest Court of Appeal (civil sentence no. 952/17 March 2017), respectively of the High Court of Cassation and Justice (civil decision no. 647/06 February 2020), the courts have found the legal nature of the measure ordered by ANPC, the bank having the obligation to return to the affected debtors the amounts of money overpaid as interest, from the moment of the restructuring operation until now.

Credere mentions that it recently had a meeting with the management of the National Authority for Consumer Protection, receiving the reassurance that the authority will do all due diligence for the implementation by Raiffeisen Bank of the final decision pronounced by the court. According to official sources, the damage would significantly exceed the estimate made by Raiffeisen at 10 million euros, since Order no. 280/09 July 2014 applies to all 14,000 affected customers, regardless of the status of the credit agreement: active or inactive.

The Association Credere for Information, Counseling and Consumer Education was founded in 2018, at the initiative of a group of consumers who in the last 11 years have been involved in actions aimed at protecting the interests of consumers of financial and banking services.


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