The Slovenia Times

Banks in good shape but mindful of economic cycle


Blaž Brodnjak, the chief executive of NLB bank, said it was necessary to start a conversation on how to act when negative economic trends in Europe and the world become more pronounced.

The latest figures are cause for concern, as signals from Slovenia's key export markets, most recently the contraction of the German economy, indicate a coming slowdown.

He said banks have to respond appropriately, but he stressed that the situation was much better than before the previous crisis.

The banking system is in good shape, companies are not as indebted, and all key actors have learned a lot from the previous crisis.

The key for banks is to be cautious so as not to affect corporate cash flow too much and "pull the brakes on the economy."

Primož Dolenc, the acting governor of the Slovenian central bank, provided a similar assessment in stressing that banks needed to get ready for the economic cycle to turn, but he said there were no particular risks on the horizon for the time being.

There are signs of imbalance on the real estate market, but this has to do more with the mismatch between supply and demand than overleveraging.

Nevertheless, Banka Slovenije expects commercial banks to be cautious, in particular with sight deposits and standards in the approval of consumer loans.

Jon Denhof, the chairman of NKBM, Slovenia's second largest bank, was more optimistic and said NKBM saw great opportunities on the market despite the challenges.

But to use these opportunities, banks need to improve efficiency since there is still too much dead weight in the banking system.


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