Banks, telecom operators sign agreement on debt-write off for destitute citizens

Photo /Vijesti/2015/siječanj/20 siječanj/JKP_2999.jpg

Representatives of banks and telecommunications companies signed an agreement with Social Policy and Youth Minister Milanka Opacic on Tuesday designed to alleviate financial problems of citizens with blocked bank accounts.

The agreement, which envisages the writing off of debts of the poorest citizens, was signed with representatives of Zagrebacka Banka, OTP bank, Hypo Alpe Adria Bank, Raiffeisenbank Austria, Privredna Banka Zagreb, Erste&Steiermaerkische Bank, Sberbank, and Societe Generale-Splitska Banka, and the telecommunications companies Vipnet, Tele2 and Croatian Telecom.

Opacic said that this was the first time such a large number of creditors had gathered around a voluntary agreement and that banks and telecom operators had demonstrated social responsibility.

The minister said the agreement would help destitute citizens and give them an opportunity for a new start, stressing that this was a one-off measure resulting from the grave social situation in the country.

"This is not a message that bills should not be paid, this is a social measure and socially responsible conduct."

On Monday, an agreement of this kind was also signed by the mayors of the cities of Zagreb, Rijeka, Split and Osijek.

After today's signing ceremony, Opacic called on other cities and municipalities to join the debt write-off scheme as well.

Under the scheme, the ceiling for the write-off of debts to telecom operators and state-run utility services is HRK 10,000 and HRK 25,000 respectively.

The total debt of people covered by this scheme was slightly below HRK 1.5 billion on 30 September 2014, when their bank accounts had been blocked for more than a year. The amount did not include accrued interest of HRK 712.1 million.

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