Banking Mediator to be operational in one yearPublish date: 26-11-2007
The Romanian Banking Association (ARB) has registered a Banking Mediator with the Romanian State Office for Inventions and Trademarks (OSIM). This new institution is intended to resolve disputes between banks and their clients, before they get to the court, according to ARB President, Radu Gratian Ghetea.
The Romanian National Bank (BNR) has already given the green light for the establishment of the institution of Ombudsman, inspired by Greek and British models, and expected to cost some €600,000-700,000.
Ghetea added that the institution is to become operational within one year. ARB will be the sole shareholder of the Banking Mediator. The association will also manage complaints, which are to be confidential, according to banking legislation. The mediator's role will initially be to amicably resolve complaints filed by banking clients. In the long-term, ARB members also plan to develop a rapid inter-bank information system, in terms of informational attacks against banks, and collaboration with the police to expose false IDs used to commit fraud against banks. "We would like to have the system developed in such a way that banks do not find out which lender was attacked, but only how it was attacked," Ghetea said.
Some 10,000 complaints are filed annually regarding bank activities. The Ombudsman is to receive the complaints and discuss these with the parties involved, prior to making a mandatory decision on behalf of both parties.
Romania is not the first country in the region to appoint a banking mediator. There are countries in which the mediator is supported by banking associations, such as Austria and Poland, and cases in which the Ombudsman is managed by central banks - Spain and Germany, according to Ghetea. "In Britain this body functions within the government," he added.
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