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*Bankers expect mortgage loans to be unfrozen by March

Bankers expect loans for homes to be unfrozen in the first quarter of the year, after imposing less restrictive standards on this segment compared with that of consumer loans in the last three months of 2009, according to a survey conducted by the NBR (National Bank of Romania).
16.4% of respondent banks say they will relax mortgage lending terms by the end of March, while the rest expect lending terms to remain the same as in the previous quarter.
Analysts say, however, that the population's indebtedness potential is low and that retail loans will not see a spectacular rise in 2010. "Individual loans do not have very good prospects this year because incomes have been adjusted, while the population's indebtedness level is relatively high. Any rise on the retail segment will mainly come from mortgage loans, encouraged by the extension of the 'First Home' scheme," says Ionut Dumitru, chief economist of Raiffeisen Bank.