The Slovenia Times

Governor happy with situation in banking - sees challenges ahead


Vasle believes the situation is totally different than in 2013, when the state came to rescue the banks in a massive bailout: lending practices are better, there is no manager buyouts financed by loans and bank oversight is different.

"Last year was one of the most successful ones in the history of Slovenia's banking system and this year's results indicate 2019 will be similar," Vasle told the paper.

Slovenian banks recorded a cumulative net profit of just over 496 million euro in 2018, the highest since the pre-crisis year 2007 and up almost 17% from 2017.

Nevertheless, there are some challenges ahead, as the banks have not yet managed to restore corporate lending and have practically the same business models.

The question is also whether they are ready for changes brought about by new technologies, said the governor.

Vasle believes there are still relatively many banks in Slovenia, so he sees consolidation as "an unavoidable and useful process".

Asked whether he was happy with the new owners of NLB, NKBM or Abanka after their privatisation, the governor said Banka Slovenije was not a party to these sales.

As to the criticism that Serbian businessmen Miodrag Kostić was allowed to take over Gorenjska Banka in a rather non-transparent manner, he said the central bank had acted the same as in all other cases.

He could, however, not say when the planned merger of NKBM and Abanka could take place, as some procedures do not depend on the Slovenian central bank.

"But the fact is that the majority of banks are now in foreign ownership, so now it will become clear whether the new owners have a vision."

Vasle defended the central bank's recently introduced stricter borrowing rules, saying some other countries such as Portugal and Slovakia opted for the same solution.

He noted there were consumer loans of up to 15,000 euro with ten-year maturity in Slovenia, arguing these were no longer proper consumer loans.

"With 80% of consumer loans having maturity of over five years, Slovenia is at the top of the eurozone in thie respect," he argued in favour of the new restrictions, under which many clients are no longer creditworthy.


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