VP Law Firm • Mar 25, 2020
THE DECISION ON PROVISIONAL MEASURES FOR PRESERVING THE STABILITY OF THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM AND THE DECISION ON PROVISIONAL MEASURES FOR LEASING PROVIDERS WERE ADOPTED
On the 17th of March 2020 The National bank of Serbia (hereinafter „NBS“) adopted The Decision on provisional measures for preserving the stability of the financial system and The Decision on provisional measures for leasing providers in order to maintain the stability of the financial system, published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia no. 33/2020 (hereinafter: „Decisions“), prescribing a delay in payment of the debt (the moratorium).
The Decisions introduce an obligation on banks / leasing providers to offer debtors (individuals, farmers, entrepreneurs and companies) a delay in payment of liabilities (moratorium). The moratorium may not be shorter than 90 days, that is, the duration of the state of emergency caused by pandemic. During the moratorium, the banks / leasing providers will not calculate the statutory default interest on the overdue or initiate the enforcement proceedings, as well as enforcement proceedings against the debtor, that is, it will not take other legal actions to collect the debtors’ claims.
In accordance with the Decisions banks and leasing providers are obliged to offer debtors a deadlock on repayment (a moratorium) by posting on their website. After the offer has been published on their website, the debtor has a period of ten days from the date of publication to reject the offer, and if he does not do so – the offer will be considered to have been accepted on that tenth day. The banks / leasing providers shall have the right to collect the loan/lease installments due by the day the moratorium begins to take effect (no later than 31st of March 2020), unless the client explicitly required the moratorium to be applied before the deadline expires.
The decision does not terminate the right of banks and leasing providers to calculate contractual interest, however it remains unknown as to the rights of the banks and leasing providers to possibly change the contractual interest rate due to a change in the repayment plan (which must inevitably change as a result of the introduction of a moratorium).
Legal protection for banks / leasing providers is provided by the fact that on the 20th of March 2020, the Government adopted a Decree on deadlines in court proceedings during the state of emergency declared on 15th of March 2020, published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia no. 38/2020 (hereinafter: „Decree“). The Decree stipulates that deadlines for filing of claims in litigation proceedings, filing a private lawsuit in criminal proceedings, a motion to initiate non-contentious proceedings or enforcement and security procedure, filing a lawsuit in an administrative dispute and lodging a constitutional complaint shall cease to be during the state of emergency declared on 15th of March 2020. In this way, banks and leasing providers are protected from the loss of the right to enforce collection of receivables whose maturity is due during the state of emergency.
Finally, there remain a number of open questions about the implementation and effects that the Decision will bring into practice, and in particular how banks / leasing providers and clients will regulate their relations after the state of emergency ends.