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Debts a la Europe: How do Romanians interpret debts

How are debts regarded at EU level and the way debts are interpreted by Romanians, were the key points of a new research implemented by KRUK Group in 7 countries where it develops its operations: Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Germany, Italy and Spain.  The research was meant to reveal opinions and attitudes of the residents in various countries, pertaining to finances, crediting products and problems related to debts. Implemented during the period October 19-26 October, the study was applied on a representative sample pool in each country. In Romania, the research was implemented on a sample pool of 1.000 persons, internet users, with ages between 18 and 65.

The research with the title “Debts a la Europe” was conducted within the context of the Day without Debts, initiative of KRUK group, celebrated on November 17th.  This day is a symbolic moment, the day when we put in order our wallet and in the invoices, and elaborates an action plan by which we should repay our debts.

The researches implemented by KRUK group had the main objective to understand feelings and personal needs of the clients, but also the understanding of the difficult situations they face, so as to find the best means to help them overcome difficulties in the future.

The studies conducted each year help us analyze differences and similarities between the markets where KRUK Group has operations and offers us information about how could we help our clients and offer them the best solutions to solve their financial problems. The research conducted this year reveals some clear differences between the markets where we operate. Thus, in Poland, 83% of the respondents use online banking, while in Romania, only   66% of the respondents use this system. At the same time, the differences regarding financial education are visible, 58% of the Polish respondents declare they have basic knowledge about finances, while 62% of the Romanians say they have basic knowledge about finances. All these percentages help us understand what are the problems of our clients and thus be able to adapt our solutions to their requirements”, declared Tomasz Ignaczak, General Director KRUK Romania.

The study revealed the fact that 79% of the Romanians have a bank account, and 66% of them use internet banking services. At the same time, almost two thirds of the Romanians are currently repaying loan installments (60%). Most often, they are working persons (63% took a loan), and 63% of the respondents evaluate their financial situation as being a poor one.

Uncourtly, the highest percentage of Romanians (62%) say they have basic financial knowledge – they are generally aware of the bank and other financial institutions offers, but do not have the knowledge about specific financial instruments. Financial education received in childhood represents a breaking point in the science of managing own finances.

Education is an important aspect in evaluating the financial situations of Romanians. This rupture which we, as a nation, have since childhood, slowly, slowly led to a poor education about managing own finances. We can see that we start being curious and open to new means by which we can solve our problems, be open to new information about some financial products, but there is a rupture which cannot be easily overcome. The acceptance of debts and the attempt to solve these problems shows us that we are heading towards a plan by means of which we can solve our financial problems, but everything in small steps”, said Aurora Liiceanu, PhD in psychology and researcher.

20% of the Romanian population has at the moment overdue obligations. Most often these refer to payment of energy bills and repayment of consumer loans installments. They are most often women, with a poor financial situation and a minimal level of financial knowledge.

When faced with the situation of loss of liquidities and in order to pay the overdue debts, Romanians most often try to save from the current expenditures (22%).  At the same time, they would contact the creditors to adapt the level of repayment installments to their new situation (20 %) and could use their own savings (16%). The younger are more inclined than other age groups to turn to the family support (18% of the respondents). The more mature ones, more often than other age groups, would be ready to declare personal insolvency.

When faced with payment of obligations, the option most often selected is amicable solution – the contact with the creditor and structuring the debts in installments (68%).

The main expectations towards debt management companies are to determine the quantum of payments that corresponds to the current financial situation of the debtor (59%), as well as their help and support in finding the solutions related to debts (42%). The other elements, such as education in terms of economics, assistance in finding a work place or psychological support are mentioned less frequently.

© Mihnea Ratte

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