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BNR is working alongside the government, public authorities and the banking system to mitigate the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic

In light of the recent events triggered by the new coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), the National Bank of Romania (BNR) has taken a set of measures to support the efforts of the public authorities and the banking system to mitigate the effects of the crisis on the domestic economy.

Firstly, the BNR has taken all the necessary measures to further ensure the smooth operation of payment and settlement systems underlying payments in the domestic currency, so that commercial and financial transactions can be performed under normal conditions, regardless of how the situation caused by the pandemic unfolds.

In addition, the BNR is constantly monitoring and analysing domestic and international developments, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on financial markets and the domestic economy, and stands ready to ensure, under the circumstances, the necessary stability and the liquidity of the banking system, for the proper functioning of public finances and the real economy. The top priority is the current financing of public spending (wages, pensions, social transfers, investments, etc.). In case of increased household demand, the BNR will provide banks with continuous cash flows for all operations, including liquidity for ATMs. Bank customers have full access to the money available in their accounts, irrespective of whether they choose to withdraw cash from ATMs, make bank transactions or, if necessary, go to banks’ branches and agencies.

However, to avoid direct physical contact and non-urgent travel, the BNR recommends that bank operations be made, as far as possible, using the modern payment methods available, such as cards or online payments. In this period, most financial institutions have taken several decisions to protect the health of their customers and employees, while ensuring business continuity. These measures are in line with public authorities’ recommendations to observe social distancing and protective sequestration, considering the current exceptional circumstances.

The BNR acts and fully supports the steps taken by the banking system to assist individuals and companies affected by the crisis, through appropriate measures, on a case by case basis, to ease ongoing loan repayments and to facilitate access to new lines of credit. The NBR is preparing appropriate changes to prudential bank regulations, in line with European and international recommendations for this period, while also looking to maintain within acceptable limits the creditworthiness of financial institutions and non-bank customers (companies and households).