LJUBLJANA, May 13 (Reuters) - The combined net profits of Slovenian banks dropped by 55% to 59.2 million euros ($64.3 million) in the first quarter, driven down in part by the coronavirus crisis, the central bank said on Wednesday.
Bad loans in March were almost unchanged for the fourth consecutive month at 2.2% of all loans.
“With strongly worsened economic conditions due to the coronavirus epidemic, we can gradually expect higher costs of provisions ... and lower bank profitability,” the Bank of Slovenia said in a report.
It added that banks entered the coronavirus crisis with high liquidity and high capital adequacy.
Bank balance sheet assets in March were 6.7% higher than a year ago, while loans to the non-banking sector were up by 6.2%.
From mid-March, Slovenia closed schools, bars, hotels, restaurants and most shops. It also cut public transport. It began gradually lifting some measures on April 20.
In April, parliament passed a law allowing loan repayments to be delayed by up to 12 months for those hit by the coronavirus. The central bank had said banks received requests for delays on 3.3% of all loans by the start of May.
The central bank said in March Slovenia’s economic output could fall by 6% to 16% this year, depending on the longevity of the virus outbreak. The economy expanded by 2.4% last year.
The state controls about 12% of the banking sector, with other banks mostly owned by foreign institutions and investors, including U.S. investment firm Apollo Global Management, Italy’s Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo, Hungary’s OTP bank, Serbia’s AIK bank, Russia’s Sberbank and Austria’s Sparkasse and Addiko Bank.
$1 = 0.9206 euros Reporting by Marja Novak; Editing by Edmund Blair