FAKE NEWS: Private banks do not give loans to Romanians

 Romanian politician George Simion (R), the leader of the extremist party Alliance for the Unity of Romanians (AUR), delivers a speech during a protest held in front of Health Ministry headquarters in Bucharest, Romania, 13 April 2021
© EPA-EFE/ROBERT GHEMENT   |   Romanian politician George Simion (R), the leader of the extremist party Alliance for the Unity of Romanians (AUR), delivers a speech during a protest held in front of Health Ministry headquarters in Bucharest, Romania, 13 April 2021

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Private banks make money at the expense of Romanians, whom they refuse to help by giving them loans, claims a publication owned by a sovereignist, extremism-oriented party.

The sovereignist messages started the election campaign

NEWS: "How did the banks end up earning 2 million euros a day from the interest paid by the NBR for deposits?" The banks have money, but they prefer to park it at the NBR at 6% interest, instead of giving more loans."

NARRATIVE: Private banks refuse to grant loans to Romanians.

CONTEXT: The electoral super year, in which more than half of the planet's population will go to the polls, started in Romania with the campaigns for the local and European Parliament elections, which will take place on June 9. For some time, however, the Romanian electoral discourse, once based on promises,  fulfilled or not, has no longer focused on "what we are going to do", but rather highlighted  "what they didn't do" or "what they did badly", "they" being the opposing parties, but also foreign forces, which are left unnamed or personified in international organizations of which Romania is a part, such as the EU or NATO, and even the UN or WHO.

Faithful to the sovereignist and Eurosceptic doctrine formulated since its foundation, the AUR (Alliance for the Union of Romanians) party has made a habit of launching false narratives and disinformation, aimed at manipulating the public opinion, in the sense of demonizing the collective West which, with the complicity of the current political class, would attack the very existential vein of the Romanian people. The model is reminiscent, in tone, themes and language, of the Russian discourse, which fuels the justification for Moscow's aggressive policy. For its part, the extremist political party uses messages that appeal to traditional values, such as homeland and family, as was the case with the large protest organized a year ago against the government’s decision to sell Romania and kidnap Romania’s children , in fact only a political demonstration with the aim of putting pressure on the parties in power, faced with several overlapping crises.

At the same time, AUR has attracted to its ranks personalities from the area of ​​civil society with conspiratorial discourses, such as the lawyer Gheorghe Piperea, who stated that in the future, people will have to pay to be able to breathe.   Currently a candidate for a European Parliament mandate on AUR’s list, Piperea also claims that the European Union's National Recovery and Resilience Plan  will cancel Romanians’ property rights over gardens and land  and constantly raises alarm signals about the world occult's plan to subjugate humanity through  digital currencies and the “15-minute cities”. .

PURPOSE: To promote the sovereignist and anti-Western discourse, to cause and amplify social tensions, for electoral purposes.

Reality: the number of loans granted to Romanians has been increasing

WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: AUR's electoral message is actually the interpretation of an analysis made by a financial publication , which explains how commercial banks prefer to place their excess liquidity in deposits with the National Bank of Romania, for which they collect interest.

For a proper understanding of the mechanism, we should mention that that "liquidity" means the total funds held by commercial banks. A part of it is kept in the form of cash in their own vaults, but the majority is money held by banks in accounts opened at the central bank. "Excess Liquidity " represents the monetary supply remaining after the fulfillment by commercial banks of the specific requirements regarding the maintenance of minimum levels of reserves, which are intended to cover certain liabilities, especially customer deposits.

Central Bank statistics show that, in February 2024, natural persons’ deposits in banks totaled more than 340 billion lei , of which approximately 160 billion, i.e. almost half, represented sight deposits or sums in current accounts, for which the banks do not pay interest. Thus, the exaggerated profit obtained by the commercial banks is explained not by the reluctance to offer loans to the Romanian population (from which they would get a profit anyway), but by the fact that this money is practically free, from the point of view of the banks, and the profit obtained from the interest collected from the NBR is not diminished by the related costs.

On the other hand, it is not the refusal of the banks that keeps Romanians away from loans, but the high interest rates generated by the macroeconomic uncertainty, a decisive role in this being played, according to specialists, by the fiscal package promoted by the government at the end of last year, which discourages credit-based investment and purchases. However, the NBR forecasts   say that the level of lending to the population will experience a slight increase this year, though smaller than in previous years. However, the pace of loaning is expected to resume its upward trend as of 2025. Thus, after a growth rate of loaning of 7.2% in 2023, it will decrease to 7% this year, and in 2025 it will reach 8.5%.

In fact, a NBR report on loans granted to households  revealed that the upward trend started to show even in  October 2023.  

  • Publication / Media:
    60M.RO
  • Date of publication:
    11/04/2024
  • Target audience:
    SOVEREIGNISTS, NATIONALISTS, POPULISTS, EUROSCEPTICS, ANTI-EUROPEANS, ANTI-WESTERN
  • Amplification:
    SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Political affiliation:
    THE ALLIANCE FOR THE UNION OF ROMANIANS
  • Key narrative:
    Private banks are getting rich because they refuse to grant loans to Romanians.

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