The Slovenia Times

NKBM completes Abanka takeover, integration due this year


The integration will proceed gradually and there will be no changes affecting clients since all services will continue to be provided at existing branches, NKBM chairman John Denhof and Abanka chairman Jože Lenič told the press on Wednesday.

The merger, which Lenič described as a momentous event in Slovenian banking, will create a bank with total assets of EUR 8.8 billion, just shy of NLB's.

Its market share by assets will be 23.6% compared to around 25% for NLB, while the volume of net loans will exceed NLB's.

The combined bank will have roughly 800,000 clients and over 2,100 employees, 110 bank branch offices and almost 500 ATMs.

The consolidation is a response to the existing challenges in banking, said Lenič. "Economies of scale are a must if you want to be competitive on the market."

There have been fears that NKBM would be relocated from Maribor to Ljubljana, where Abanka is headquartered, but Denhof said this would not be the case since the combined bank will have two headquarters as it strives to geographically cover the entire country.

So far the banks have been strongest individually in eastern and central Slovenia and in the Nova Gorica area. Denhof said that the bank will not necessarily have a physical presence outside these regions, it will work with mobile and online banking.

Management-wise, Denhof will remain in charge at NKBM and Lenič will stay on at Abanka, but the Abanka board will join the management of the combined bank.

Operationally, the integration is to be completed this year or by the first quarter of 2021 at the latest. Lenič and Denhof would not specify how the process will affect the staff numbers.

Denhof said the management would also keep an eye on every opportunity for growth, organic or through acquisitions.


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