Serbia's central bank revokes license of Univerzal Banka - statement

BELGRADE Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:04pm EST

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BELGRADE Jan 31 (Reuters) - Serbia's central bank has revoked the license of Univerzal Banka, making it the fourth small Serbian bank to be shut down since 2012 due to bad loans or low capitalisation.

There are about 30 lenders in Serbia, a country of 7.3 million people. Most lenders are subsidiaries of foreign banks.

"The (Univerzal) bank fell into the state of critical undercapitalisation and its liquidity and continuation of businesses have been jeopardised," the central bank said in a statement on Friday.

The Deposit Insurance Agency will administer the bank's assets.

Earlier this month, Belgrade-based Vecernje Novosti daily reported that Univerzal Banka needed about 8 million euros ($11 million) in new capital because its capital adequacy ratio was about half the required 12 percent.

Univerzal Banka is 75 percent owned by several Serbian companies and the rest by small shareholders. Its officials were not immediately available for comment.

Last year, the Serbian government took over assets of Privredna Banka and Razvojna Banka Vojvovine after they collapsed under the weight of bad loans.

In 2012 the state-run Postanska Stedionica also took over assets and clients of the Agrobanka bank after financial authorities unravelled a 2011 unaudited loss of 29.7 billion dinars ($346 million).

($1 = 0.7373 euros) (Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

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