29 July 2020 – In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Bank of Serbia (“NBS”) adopted on 27 July 2020 two decisions aimed at protecting Serbia’s financial system: the Decision on Temporary Measures for Banks for the Mitigation of Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic Aimed at Protecting the Financial System (“Decision on Temporary Measures for Banks”), which applies to banks; and the Decision on Temporary Measures for Leasing Providers for the Mitigation of Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic Aimed at Protecting the Stability of the Financial System (“Decision on Temporary Measures for Lessors”), which applies to lessors. The NBS has issued these decisions to address potential repayment difficulties that may be faced by borrowers/lessees. Both decisions entered into force on 28 July 2020 and contain, in general, the same obligations for both banks and leasing companies. These decisions mirror the decisions adopted by the NBS in March of 2020 (for an overview of these decisions, please click here https://www.kinstellar.com/locations/news-deals-insights/detail/belgrade-serbia/1043/serbia-mandatory-moratorium-on-repayment-obligations-to-banks-and-lessors).
Under the newly-adopted decisions, banks/lessors are obliged to offer borrowers/lessees (physical persons, entrepreneurs, farmers and companies) a moratorium on repayment obligations and must publish an offer to this effect on their website within three (3) days as of the date of entry into force of the decisions, i.e. until 31 July 2020. The moratorium will last from 1 August 2020 until 30 September 2020. However, in case the debtors have not settled their obligations from July 2020, the moratorium retroactively applies to that month as well.
For the duration of the moratorium, banks/lessors are prohibited from charging default interest on any due and unpaid receivable which became due during the moratorium, and cannot initiate enforcement proceedings, mandatory collection proceedings and/or any other legal measures aimed at the collection of a receivable against a borrower/lessee. However, regular interest rates may be charged on the part of the principal that would have become due during the moratorium in case of debtors who are companies (the same is prohibited in case of clients who are natural persons, entrepreneurs and farmers).
The repayment moratorium is deemed to be accepted if the borrower/lessee does not refuse the offer published on the website of the bank/lessor within 10 days as of the date of publishing of the offer. Upon expiration of this 10-day period, the moratorium automatically enters into force.
Banks/lessors are obligated to regulate, pursuant to their internal acts, inter alia, the type of additional benefits that may be offered to borrowers/lessees; the manner of communication with borrowers/lessees; the monitoring system and system of reporting to the NBS in relation to these measures; and results of its application. Such internal acts should be submitted to the NBS by banks/lessors immediately following their adoption. In addition, banks/lessors are obliged to submit monthly reports to the NBS on the measures and activities implemented in line with the decisions. Banks/lessors may not transfer the costs in relation to such actions to borrowers/lessees. Banks/lessors should harmonise their internal rules with the decisions within five (5) days as of the date of entry into force of the decisions.
Transaction fees, account maintenance fees, investment and brokerage services and similar services are excluded from the moratorium.