On the occasion of the Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Building Societies, the representatives of the member institutions met on 9 October 2008 in Bucharest (Romania). With friendly support from the Romanian building societies, which as hosts made a substantial contribution to the success of the event, intensive discussions were conducted, including on the effects of the US property crisis. In the view of the EFBS, 100-120% debt financing is the main cause of this crisis. These loans have always been refused by building societies. The EFBS members hope that this disaster is perceived in the USA and the World Bank it dominates as an opportunity for reversion to sound housing finance systems. During the meeting of the Legal Affairs Committee, a representative of the Housing Ministry in Romania presented the home ownership finance programmes in Romania. Assistance should focus in particular on younger people. At the Housing Policy and Marketing Committee meeting, a representative of the Romanian National Bank and the Ministry of Housing in turn spoke about developments in finance and the housing sector in Romania. Demographic changes and the effects on the design of financial products were discussed. In particular, emphasis was placed this time on the financial possibilities for the elderly. The press conference organised on 9 October 2008 went particularly well. Both the comments on saving-for-home-ownership as a safe way to finance housing construction in view of the financial crisis and the establishment of a further building society institution in the Romanian market met with great interest on the part of journalists and broadcasters. During the meeting of the Management Board/ the members, the Managing Director of the EFBS, Mr Andreas J. Zehnder, was given particular thanks for his commitment over 15 years, which was underlined by the unanimous confirmation of an extension of his term of office for the next three years.
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