Romania was identified with having one of the highest annual percentage rate (APR) in the entire European Union, namely 30,341% (thirty thousand three hundred forty one percent), for a loan of 180 Euro granted by a non-bank institution for a payday loan, a study reveals, regarding crediting in Romania made by the Credere Association, upon the request of Finance Watch Brussels.
"The ambiguity of costs, hiding some costs or redirecting consumers towards lending institutions with a higher cost, are just a few of the problems identified at a national level and which blatantly violate the legislation in force. There were elements identified of misinforming the consumer and misleading advertising. By way of example, two Romanian banks promoted granting consumer loans with an 8% interest, without informing the consumer that if they did not fulfill certain conditions the new interest rate was of approximately 14%. Unlike other European countries, obtaining the contract model prior to signing, with small exceptions, is extremely difficult to accomplish. The representatives of some financial entities admitted that they encourage consumers to sign the contract on the spot, without a prior analysis of it," a press release sent to AGERPRES, on Monday, by the said association reads.
According to the quoted source, all these aspects represent a violation of the legislation in the area of consumer protection and requires the intervention of the European Commission for improving the protection industries which the Romanian borrowers need to have access to.
The Credere Association, upon the request of Finance Watch Brussels, documented a number of 32 cases through the "mystery shopping" method. During the period of June-August 2020, the behavior of 10 banks and non-bank financial institutions was analyzed, regarding the lending process, in both online, as well as directly inside the financial entities.
The Credere Association, for Informing, Counseling and Educating Consumers was founded in 2018, at the initiative of a group of consumers who in the last 10 years were actively involved in actions, whose main objective was protecting the consumers' interests from financial-banking services.