In the spring of 2006, National Bank of Romania, Romanian Banking Association and Ministry of Public Finance launches a financial sector modernization program with support from the Convergence Program (administered by the World Bank). The National Authority for Consumer Protection joins the partnership in October 2006. The program is placed under the oversight of a five-person high-level committee (the SPI Committee) and orchestrated by a two-person secretariat (the SPI Secretariat), supported by the Convergence Program (Washington and Rome).
The novelty of the program lies in its strong practical focus evidenced by four aspects:
ex-ante agreement among public and private stakeholders on issues needing reform
quantification of the economic impact of the proposed changes for each stakeholder
extensive analytical and consensus-building discussions within public-private working groups supported by expert advice if necessary and
ongoing focus on enactment.
Since its operational launch in September 2006, the program has dealt with twelve projects. Under its aegis, several important issues have been successfully addressed such as credit information sharing, anti-money laundering law, electronic settlement of debit payment instruments, and creation of a bank ombudsman. In parallel, the Convergence Program is delivering a structured Regulatory Impact Assessment program to enhance the evidence-based regulatory design capabilities of the Romanian regulatory community (part of the EU better regulation approach).
Becoming A Romanian Institution
In May 2007, the Romanian stakeholders decide to take over operational and financial responsibility for the program as from January 2008, after the incubation by the Convergence Program. To mark the transition to local ownership, the term “SPI Romania” is coined in June 2007, with its distinctive logo that springs to life from the “Convergence” logo. International Finance Corporation has posted on its website a SmartLessons note on the SPI Romania experience.
SPI Romania evokes the identity of a new public-private institution that is solely dedicated to promoting financial sector modernization with the strong legitimacy that comes from its unrelenting pursuit of the best common good – for authorities in terms of financial stability, for market participants in terms of sustainable profit-making activities and for consumers in terms of access to financial products and services and fair treatment by financial institutions.