Press Release: Parent Banks Reaffirm Commitment to Romania, European Commission and IMF Say

November 18, 2009

Press Release No. 09/417
November 18, 2009

In a meeting of the European Bank Coordination Initiative Group, held today in Brussels, the parent banks of the nine largest banks operating in Romania reaffirmed their commitment to maintain their exposure to the country and ensure adequate capital levels over 10 percent for their affiliates, and in line with the results of stress tests conducted by the National Bank of Romania (NBR).

The meeting was attended by representatives of the nine parent banks with subsidiaries in Romania (Erste Group Bank, Raiffeisen International, Eurobank EFG, National Bank of Greece, UniCredit Group, Société Générale, Alpha Bank, Volksbank, and Piraeus Bank) and representatives of the National Bank of Romania, the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the World Bank Group, the European Central Bank and the home country authorities.

The meeting was a follow-up to those held on 26 March and 19 May, when the banks initially committed to maintain their positions in Romania. As of end-October 2009, the exposure of parent banks to Romania was broadly maintained compared to the benchmark date (March 2009). In a few cases, exposure temporarily fell below the agreed level. These banks have reaffirmed their intention to act to meet their commitments. In this respect, banks emphasized the need for the availability of appropriate investment instruments. Importantly, all parent banks also complied with their commitments to provide additional capital needs for 2009 as of end-September 2009, thus ensuring the capital-adequacy ratio of their affiliates to remain above 10 percent throughout the programme period.

During today’s meeting, the participants were also informed of the status of discussions between the IMF and European Commission (EC) with the Romanian authorities on the review of the balance of payments support program. The program remains in effect. Discussions will continue in the coming weeks and another mission will return to Bucharest as soon as the political situation has been clarified to successfully complete the review under the programme.

The participants acknowledged the vital role that the European Bank Coordination Initiative has played in averting a more pronounced crisis in Romania against the backdrop of a difficult economic environment. The commitment by parent banks, along with the financial support from multilateral lenders, will help Romania’s banking system to better withstand the current downturn and to return the economy back to a sustainable growth path, the participants concluded.


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