The Slovenia Times

Central Bank Urges Banks to Step up Bad Loan Resolution


The proportion of non-performing claims to SMEs rose to 39% of all non-performing claims to companies last year, Banka Slovenije said in a statement on Tuesday after the Governing Board analysed the stability of the country's banking system.

"This calls for more active involvement by the banks to tackle non-performing claims and their sale, swifter write-offs and greater segmentation of borrowers when approving fresh loans," the statement reads.

The board found that credit risk at banks had gradually stabilised last year, but also noted that the risk for a new increase in non-performing loans remains high.

The board specifically pointed out the "poor quality" the credit portfolio involving foreign borrowers, "which is not subject to transfer of bad claims to the Bank Asset Management Company (BAMC) and depends on economic development mainly in the Western Balkan countries".

Central bank data shows that the proportion of non-performing claims declined by 2.5 percentage points in October 2014 to 13.2% as Abanka transferred toxic loans to BAMC, but would have been down even excluding the impact of the transfer.

Non-performing claims also declined in absolute figures last year, especially in the corporate sector, however this was not reflected in an improved quality of the overall portfolio due to a contracted lending activity of banks.

Corporate delaveraging and restructuring has been slow, the central bank said, pointing to a boost in the form of the guidelines it issued in December for the formation of impairments and provisions for claims to companies that have agreed restructuring deals with banks.

Estimated demand by companies for loans increased last year, which coupled with the fact that lending standards have not been restricted, "increases the likelihood that the pace of contraction in loans to non-financial companies will begin to slow down".

The Governing Board also adopted a report on economic and financial trends, finding the challenges of malfunctioning credit channels, high unemployment, fiscal consolidation and corporate restructuring could be dealt with easier provided "responsible and thought-through ownership restructuring of companies".


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