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Slovenian Banks Unwilling to Lend Despite ECB Financing

Banks in Slovenia are unwilling to expand lending even as they benefit from financing from the European Central Bank, the government forecasting institute said.

“Slovenian banks’ liabilities toward the euro system increased in December by 900 million euros ($1.18 billion),” the government’s economic institute said in an e-mailed statement today. “But this won’t increase the credit activity since banks have deposited these funds with the ECB as they prepare to repay about 4 billion euros in 2012.”

Banks operating in Slovenia, including UniCredit SpA and Raiffeisen Bank International AG, have repaid 1.7 billion euros of loans and deposits until the end of November, or 40 percent more than in the same period a year earlier, the institute said.

Slovenian lenders’ reluctance to lend may further damage the economy, which is sliding into recession as austerity measures in Europe sap demand for its exports. The institute is forecasting the export-led economy will expand 0.2 percent this year, while the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development sees a 1.1 percent contraction in 2012.

State-owned Nova Ljubljanska Banka d.d. and Nova Kreditna Banka Maribor d.d., the country’s two biggest lenders, will probably report further losses for last year as the faltering economy pushes more companies into bankruptcies and forces them to increase bad-loan reserves.

The liquidity of the Slovenian banking system has improved since December, when the ECB started to offer three-year loans to lender, central bank Governor Marko Kranjec said on Jan. 25.

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