PM assures holders deposits with Sberbank safe

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Ljubljana – Prime Minister Janez Janša has assured Slovenian citizens who have their deposits with the Slovenian subsidiary of Sberbank that their savings are safe after the Russian bank’s European division was forced to suspend operations.

“The Financial Ministry is working with Banka Slovenije and EU institutions so that disruption to operations and the transfer of savings deposits to a new owner take as little time as possible,” Janša was quoted as saying by the Government Communication Office on Monday.

Janša thus responded to disruption in the banking system due to sanctions imposed on Russia over the invasion of Ukraine after the European Central Bank and the Single Resolution Board decided to suspend the operations of Sberbank Europe, which also has a subsidiary in Slovenia.

Banka Slovenije, the Slovenian central bank, said a moratorium had been imposed to find a fast and constructive solution for the Slovenian subsidiary to allow the clients to resume transactions without disruption.

Until Wednesday morning cash withdrawals and payments are limited to EUR 400 with further details to be presented on Tuesday.

The central bank is looking into several possible avenues to resolve the situation. According to the newspaper Finance these are selling or transferring the bank’s assets, liabilities and clients; transferring the bank’s assets and liabilities to a new entity partly or fully owned by the state, that is a kind of bad bank; or, alternatively, full transfer to such a bad bank.

Unofficial information obtained by Finance is that the first of the three scenarios, that is an attempt to transfer the clients, possibly to NLB or Gorenjska Banka, is currently playing out in Slovenia. It should be known on Tuesday whether those two banks would in fact submit bids.

The ECB would decide on clearing a potential transfer of clients to another bank applying a “super fast procedure”, Finance reports.

After sanctions were imposed on Sberbank, Finance Minister Andrej Šircelj said solutions were being secured that would guarantee the safety of deposit holders. Savings are also guaranteed by the Savings Deposits Guarantee Fund and the state budget, he noted.

“The government is looking into the situation, we are in contact with businesses and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) and we will do everything we can to help businesses,” said Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek as he noted that Sberbank worked with businesses on both sides.

“The conclusion we have come to with the GZS is that it’s unacceptable to solve crisis with war and that we will, unless a solution is found, insist on the sanctions imposed by the EU, which means the European and our economy will be hurt,” he said, promising multi-layered solutions.