Bucharest, 29 May 2017 – Most of the Bauspar customers who saved over a 5-year time span are on the brink of poverty and earn extremely modest incomes, according to a survey that IRSOP conducted for the Association of the Housing Banks in Romania (ABDLR). One in three customers said they had not used credits that far because they were unable to handle the payback instalments, according to the same IRSOP survey that was conducted on a pool of 1040 respondents who are customers of the two saving-crediting banks and who saved over 5 years, yet have not taken any credits so far. This sample is representative and turns out an error margin of at most +/-3%, with a confidence level of 95%.
Any person with housing issues is exposed to a social risk and 84% of the respondents say they have problems with their own homes. Basically, the material and subjective poverty indicators suggest that wide pools of Bauspar customers are actually in need of social protection, and given their difficult living conditions, their option for the Bauspar product may not be interpreted otherwise than just a wish to improve their housing conditions. Since we are talking about families exposed to social and housing risks, the state premium is a governmental instrument that encourages saving among the persons who have limited resources that could be used to improve their housing conditions, IRSOP’s study also reads.
IRSOP’s research also suggests that, even if they do not have a home credit yet, 78% of the customers have used their savings and their state premium to improve their housing conditions. Actually, it was proven that Bauspar customers turn out the same sort of behaviour, whether they take a credit or not they use their savings primarily to modernise or repair their homes.
IRSOP’s study, which covered the customers of the saving-credit banks who had saved for five years but never took a credit, also provides other data about the material risks that Bauspar clients are faced with:
- Nearly half of the households and nearly two thirds of the persons aged 60 or more live on a total income of less than 3000 lei (lower than the average monthly income of a Romanian household: RON 3,085);
- Nearly half of them (43%) live in rural areas or in small towns with less financial and employment opportunities;
- More than half (54%) consider that their financial strength is lower than the housing improvement costs.
- 84% of them have at least one issue with their home;
- One in three customers believes that they could not handle the credit instalments (29%);
Brief history of the saving - crediting system (BAUSPAR)
The BAUSPAR system made an outstanding contribution to the post-WWII reconstruction of Germany and of other European countries. The saving - crediting system (BAUSPAR) provided the institutional framework that was necessary for helping people at a time were financial resources were low or costly. Housing banks provide safe housing credits, cap the interest and split the risk.
The underlying principles of the saving-crediting system are simple. First, the Bauspar customer saves, then the bank extends credits for the purchase of apartments out of the fund saved by the other system participants to eligible credit seekers. Therefore, the key role of Bauspar banks in Austria and Germany in supporting the good quality of the housing conditions came as no surprise.
A well-developed BAUSPAR system contributes to the economic stability because it relies on an anti-cyclical business model. The stabilising function was proven again during the 2007 - 2008 world crisis. While other creditors were concerned about their lack of funds or about their problems associated to the loans in other currencies, housing banks could still extend loans to credit seekers.
The Bauspar system is a major element of the financial system. Emerging economies should recommendably support the development and expansion of such a system. Their major underlying elements are (1) the accessibility of the Bauspar system to all population segments, including for those with average or below-average incomes, and the fact that (2) the government offers the state premium of 25% of the annual deposits, but not more than the lei equivalent of 250 euros and this premium is granted to Romanian citizens, regardless of their age, as per the legal provisions in force.