Romanians’ overdue bank payments double

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At the end of 2009, banks had to recover overdue amounts of RON 7.86 billion (around 1.9 billion euros), up from RON 3.32 billion in December 2008, because increasingly more Romanians delayed the payment of their monthly instalments due to an increase in unemployment and to a decrease in the available individual and corporate revenues, reveal data with the National Bank of Romania (BNR).

The largest share of the overdue payments consist in delays exceeding 90 days, which, according to the central bank regulations, are included in the loss and fully provisioned category. The delays exceeding 90 days concerned RON 5.38 billion (almost 1.3 billion euros) in December, almost five times the amount reported at the end of 2008.
In exchange, delays of under 60 days recorded a downward trend in the past few months, thus signalling a flattening of the overdue payments increase rate.

Nevertheless, analysts warn that the banks’ loan portfolios will continue to deteriorate at least throughout mid-year.
“As long as unemployment increases and revenues drop, we can expect a slight increase in the overdue payments in the future. A flattening of the increase has been noticed even since the second half of 2009, and the trend will continue into 2010,’ Lucian Anghel, senior economist of Banca Comerciala Romana (BCR) told daily Ziarul Financiar.

Most estimates indicate an unemployment rise at least throughout mid-year 2010. In December 2009, unemployment stood at 7.8 percent, compared with 4.4 percent in the same month of 2008. The percentage of overdue payments in the total amount of loans granted by banks was 3.47 percent at the end of 2009, compared with 1.47 percent during the similar period of 2008.
The percentage of overdue payments increased fast in 2009 given that the banks granted very few new loans. Personal loans stagnated in 2009 against 2008, while mortgage loans reported one-digit growth.

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