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New facilities for debtors of credit/leasing contracts introduced by GEO no. 90/2022

Context of the adopting the GEO no 90/2022

In the context of rising inflation, which by definition implies a general increase in the prices of goods/services, Government Emergency Ordinance no 90/2022 ("GEO no 90/2022") was adopted and published in the Official Gazette no 646 of 29 June 2022.

What are the facilities?

According to art. 2 para. (1) of this regulation, "the obligation to pay the instalments due on loans, representing principal, interest and commission, granted to debtors by creditors up to 30 April 2022 shall be suspended at the request of the debtor for a period of between one month and 9 months".

Thus, the facility is strictly aimed at deferring payment of instalments for a limited period of time (1-9 months) and does not have the effect of exempting/waiving debtors' payment obligations.

We recall that a similar measure was adopted in the context of the recent pandemic by GEO No 37/2020.

Who can benefit from the moratorium?

Both consumers and professionals (e.g. PFA, ÎI, ÎF, liberal professions, legal entities except credit institutions) can benefit from these facilities.

Under what conditions can the facilities be granted?

O.U.G. no. 90/2022 establishes a series of cumulative conditions that must be met. Some of the requirements are as follows:

(i) The payment obligations arise from credit or leasing agreements with banks or non-bank financial institutions;

With regard to this condition, it is important to note that revolving credit facilities, including credit cards, overdrafts and credit lines, are not covered by GEO 90/2022. Therefore, payment obligations arising from these contracts cannot benefit from this legal facility.

(ii) the credit/leasing agreements have been concluded no later than 30.04.2022;

(iii) The credit/leasing agreement has not been in arrears during the 6 months preceding the request for suspension and at the time of the request for suspension;

(iv) Debtor-applicants must have been financially affected by "the serious situation generated by the current crisis caused directly or indirectly by the energy crisis and the war between Russia and Ukraine" (Article 2(7));

In Art. 2 para. (7) of the Ordinance states that there will be a series of criteria, to be established by subsequent implementing rules, which banks and NFIs will take into account when considering requests for deferment.

These implementing rules have not yet been adopted, which means that, for the time being, the facility provided for in GEO 90/2022 cannot be implemented.

(v) The borrowers-applicants have not previously benefited, for the same loan, from the facilities provided for in O.U.G. 90/2022.

The fact that a person has previously benefited from the facilities established by GEO No 37/2020 cannot be a reason for not granting the facility provided for by GEO No 90/2022.

The need for an application for deferment of instalments

This facility will only be available to those who expressly request it, and deferment of instalments is not automatic.

The act establishes a time limit of 30 days within which a request for postponement can be made. The text does not specify the penalty for exceeding the time limit, but creditors will most likely consider themselves entitled to reject requests filed after the time limit as late, without examining them on the merits.

The time limit will start to run "at the latest within 30 calendar days from the date on which the provisions of this Emergency Ordinance become applicable pursuant to Article 7" (Article 3(1)).

According to Article 7 of the Ordinance, the National Bank of Romania shall issue regulations on the method, periodicity and reporting forms for loans subject to GEO 90/2022, within 30 days from the date of its entry into force.

For the time being, however, the NBR has not approved such reporting forms, which reinforces the above conclusion that the facilities established by this normative act are currently inoperative, given the lack of implementing rules.

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