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IN A LETTER SENT TO THE INM AND THE CSM, CONSUMER ASSOCIATIONS WANT TO BE PRESENT IN THE DEBATES Consumers doubt the impartiality of the NBR banking law seminars - English section - Ziarul BURSA
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IN A LETTER SENT TO THE INM AND THE CSM, CONSUMER ASSOCIATIONS WANT TO BE PRESENT IN THE DEBATES
BURSA 06.04.2017

EMILIA OLESCU (translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
 
mărește imaginea
     *  Dan Suciu, NBR: "Every decision being made about these seminars belongs to the INM and the CSM"
       Four consumer associations - Parakletos, the Association of Romanian Financial Services Users (AURSF), the Association for the Counseling of Romanian Bank Customers and Insurance Policy Holders (ACCBAR) and the Pro-Consumer Association (APC România) - have requested a few days ago, in a letter sent to the National Institute of Magistrates (INM) and the Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM), to be represented in the seminars organized by the INM in partnership with the National Bank of Romania (BNR), where magistrates are instructed in the area of banking law.
     The chairmen of the four entities expressed their discontent in the involvement of the Central Bank in the organization of these events and said: "We are concerned over the fact that the Romanian National Bank is actively getting involved (...), not just through making experts available, but also through financing the four seminars (...).
     We think that we are entitled to doubt the impartiality of some of the trainers involved in these seminars".
     The four training events are set to take place in Sinaia, and in Bucharest, respectively, as follows: on April 10th, and October 9th, 2017 in Bucharest and on April 27th and October 5th in Sinaia.
     The consumer associations request that the INM and the CSM "announce, and publish the schedule of the seminars; publicize the names of all participants in the four previously mentioned seminars (judges, INM trainers, experts proposed by the NBR etc.); allow access and the representatives of the undersigned, as observers; inviting all the parties involved in the abusive lending contract lawsuits (banks' and borrowers' attorneys, representatives in the National Consumer Protection Authority, representatives of the National Bank of Romania etc.), in order to create the premises needed to allow all points of view and all the legal arguments to be listened to; the recording of the seminars and their publication on the website of the institution as well, as well as presenting their manner of financing and of any relevant information in connection with the financing granted by the National Bank of Romania for the organizing of the four seminars by the INM".
     Dan Suciu, the communication director of the NBR, told us that all the decisions that are made in relation to these seminars belong to the INM and the CSM.
     As part of the quoted document, the consumers' representatives state "there have been many cases where the National Bank of Romania, through those speaking in its name, has taken its role of «lawyer» of the banks seriously and through numerous public statements, has spoken out to the detriment of consumers of financial and banking services, demonstrating a profound bias".
     Among other things, the quoted sources bring up the position of the NBR concerning the amendments made to the Law no. 193/2000 concerning abusive terms and the passing of the Law 77/2016 concerning the giving in payment.
     The quoted letter states: "We feel that a positive resolution to the present request would be evidence of transparency from your institution, absolutely necessary amid the reports in the press that these seminars have been attended both by attorneys who represented the banks in lawsuits concerning abusive clauses, as well as representatives of the NBR, former employees of banks engaged in such lawsuits. Under these circumstances, we feel that we are entitled to doubt the impartiality of some of the trainers involved in these seminars, and reiterate the need for all the parties involved in the matter of abusive loan agreements to be involved in the training process, as so far no representative or attorney of financial and banking service consumers has participated in these seminars.
     Last but not least, we want to bring to your attention the promises of the Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM) following the notifications filed by lawyers Carmen Popa and Gheorghe Piperea in relation to other seminars on the same topic, which took place in 2015. In that regard, Mr. Cristi Dănileț, former CSM member, was saying: «I have reviewed the situation within the CSM and I have stated that precisely in order to increase the transparency of the training process lawyers should be invited as well, because they are the ones that represent the banks' customers and they have to talk, in fact, the method for the application of the law. You need to know that those seminars do not discuss specific cases, but rather, it is the legislation, the case law that are analyzed, the economic phenomena are being explained. That is why we, in the CSM, have talked about having the lawyers come in too (...) , precisely to avoid suspicions of bias. Judges are invited and then there are certain experts, either from among magistrates with expertise in this sector, or banking sector experts, perhaps even a well-prepared lawyer, as well as in-house legal advisors from banks or of any other institution, but everything under the patronage of the National Institute of Magistrates (INM), which is the school for judges. Sometimes we have our own experts, sometimes we call on outside experts. It isn't just the experts of the NBR, lawyers with expertise in the sector can come in as well, but no one can come in without being approved by the CSM».
     Along the same lines, CSM spokesperson Daniela Pantazi, was saying in 2015: «The manner in which the seminars will be held this year can no longer be changed. The plenum has decided that starting with next year, the possibility of lawyers participating in the banking law seminars will be considered»".
     According to information published on the INM website, the objective of these seminars is to approach general economics, banking and financial issues (legislation, concepts, institutional aspects, economic and financial procedures and mechanisms), and the unification of the inconsistent practice in the sector, the quoted document further states. 
 

 
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