The share of overdue loans decreased somewhat in November
Eestlased Eestis 23 Dec 2009  EWR
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Siret Vildo, Financial Sector Policy Division of Eesti Pank, Specialist in Charge

In November, the corporate and household loan and leasing stock declined by 1.6 billion kroons, i.e., 0.6%. The total value of financing portfolios stood at 254 billion kroons as at end-November, being 6.4% smaller year-on-year. Looking at corporate loans, the loan stock of the trading sector and other economic sectors shrank the most, whereas the stock of funds issued to the construction sector increased somewhat. The dynamics of the loans and leasing issued to households were similar to earlier months - the stock of household consumption loans and car leasing is decreasing the most rapidly.

The low interest rate continues to alleviate debt servicing costs. In November, the six-month Euribor dropped below 1%, reaching the lowest level in the past ten years. However, the interest rate did not lower for new borrowers, since margins on both housing and corporate loans rose in November. The average interest rate was 4.3% on new corporate loans and 3.4% on new housing loans. Although the aggregate interest (i.e., the key interest rate plus the margin) is currently rather favourable, those who enter long-term loan contracts should keep in mind that the very low key interest rate level will not be permanent.

The share of loans overdue by more than 60 days, i. e., overdue loans, in the loan portfolio of banks did not increase in November, either, but declined to the level of 6.3% by the end of November. This is owing to both the low key interest rate and the fact that banks are actively dealing with customers having payment difficulties. Although growth in the share of overdue loans has come to a halt, the volume is expected to start increasing again in the next months. According to Eesti Pank's forecast, the share of loans overdue by more than 60 days will reach its peak, 8%, in spring 2010.

Irrespective of the contraction in the volume and share of overdue loans, banks made provisions in the amount of about 700 million kroons in November. 68% of overdue loans were covered by provisions by the end of the month. Despite large provisions, the capital base of banks continues to be sufficient for coping with the current difficult economic situation.

As a result of the 180-million-kroon increase in household deposits and the 1.4-billion-kroon decrease in corporate deposits, the volume of non-financial sector deposits shrank by 1.2 billion kroons in November. The volume of deposits is 1.3% larger year-on-year, but if the tense economic situation persists, the resources accumulated in good times may rapidly decline.

Bank of Estonia PRESS RELEASE 23.12.2009
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