The Slovenia Times

Šarec critical of imposed consumer lending restrictions


"Both Banka Slovenije and the banks should, each one their side, take a step back and together draw up measures that will be based on real premisses and real life," says the press release issued by Šarec's office a day after the measure was protested by the Bank Association.

Šarec announced he would call on representatives of the Bank Association to use a meeting on consumer lending scheduled for 15 November with key stakeholders "to reconsider and find a better solution that will be to the benefit of all people and at the same time secure financial stability".

Indicating banks had refused to heed sustainable lending recommendations issued a year ago, Banka Slovenije said in October it was moving from recommendations to formal restrictions. These include a maximum 84-month maturity for consumer loans and compulsory loan-to-value ratios (loan payments relative to the client's annual income).

"Because of this measure young people, young families and those not as wealthy will not be able to get their own apartment or other goods, since they will never be able to afford them without a loan and with the low wages," Šarec believes. Their parents will also not be able to help, since pensioners will also be affected by the restrictions, he added.

The prime minister moreover argued the measure would reduce consumer spending, which would in turn be reflected in lower economic growth. He wonders "whether those in charge at Banka Slovenije want a new recession, whether they wish that the people's living standards are lowered even more".

While acknowledging that the central bank needs to adopt measures that reduce banking risks and preserve financial stability and trust in the banking sector, Šarec said "the measures should be drawn up in a more humane and realistic way".

Speaking of an approach that had been driven primarily by accounting concerns, Šarec added the measures should be "thought through much more thoroughly and by taking into account all factors and stakeholders and not as unilaterally as was the case now".

"It is evident here that those working at Banka Slovenije are out of touch with reality and the people," the prime minister concluded.


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