Financial stability. somewhat, an escalation in the crisis would also impair financial institutions access to long-term market-based funding.

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1 Financial stability Finland s financial system has functioned reliably in a challenging international operating environment. The stability of the financial system in the euro area was hanging in the balance towards the end of. The stability situation improved in the early months of, when the sovereign debt crisis entered a calmer phase in Europe and in many member countries of the euro area, in response to the measures to balance the economy already applied. The negative interlinkages between excessive public debt and banking system stability have, however, deepened further in the countries affected by the debt crisis. The biggest risks to the stability of the Finnish financial system are external in origin. An escalation in the debt crisis would impact on the Finnish economy through a decline in exports and greater difficulties for businesses in acquiring market-based funding. Although the risk of a deterioration in the availability of shortterm funding for Finnish banks has receded somewhat, an escalation in the crisis would also impair financial institutions access to long-term market-based funding. In international comparison, the capital position of Finnish banks is strong. The majority of banks own funds comprise common equity Tier capital, which has the highest capacity to cover losses. Finnish credit institutions combined ratio of equity to non-risk-weighted assets (the equity ratio) has, however, clearly declined in recent years. The trend has been different in different institutions. Some banking groups have shifted their business onto the balance sheets of their subsidiaries operating in different countries, with the aim of using their capital more effectively. The Finnish banking system is highly concentrated, and the risks of internal contagion are substantial: the three largest banking groups dominate a considerable share of the combined balance sheet and key banking activities of the

2 Financial stability Bank of Finland Bulletin Condensed summary sector as a whole. The concentration in the banking sector poses a long-term risk to the Finnish economy, as serious problems in a single major bank or group could damage the entire banking system and national economy. Finland s current account moved into deficit in. Thus Finland, as an economy, has begun to accumulate external debt. Finnish household debt has grown continuously since the turn of the millennium. These are worrying developments in a situation where the structure of Finland s economy is becoming more fragile. The risks this indebtedness poses to financial stability should be recognised and tackled through strong policy measures at a sufficiently early stage. The risk-bearing capacity of Finland s financial system and economy needs to be systematically reinforced if future financial crises are to be prevented as effectively as possible. Based on the stability analysis, the Bank of Finland recommends the following measures:. The indebtedness of Finnish households should be held in check by increasing awareness of interest rate risks and of the risks attaching to large debts and the various different loan products. Banks must abide strictly by the Financial Supervisory Authority s recommendations on assessing the debt servicing ability of housing loan applicants and being cautious regarding loan-to-value ratios of over 9%. Banks and authorities should also adopt a cautious attitude towards the amortisation-free and interest only housing loans that have become common in some countries.. Finnish authorities should be equipped with discretionary means to moderate excessively rapid growth in total lending and housing loans, at least. There is also reason to assess whether the authorities need discretionary means to restrict excessive growth in bank balance sheets and short-term market funding, among other things.. The steps taken to secure the long-term sustainability of Finland s general government finances should continue to be pursued in a determined manner. The long-term sustainability of the public finances is essential to the stability of the country s financial system.. Flexible access to funding for Finnish businesses needs to be secured. In developing the national capital markets, care needs to be taken to ensure that infrastructure services aimed at the financial markets continue to be both efficient and reliable and are flexibly available to the different market participants. 5. Supervisory authorities should more closely follow balance sheet growth and declining equity ratios in credit institutions. Banks operating in Finland differ in terms of their structures and business models, which places special demands on regulation and supervision.

3 Condensed summary Financial stability Bank of Finland Bulletin Financial stability map for Finland Banks viability Macroeconomy Housing prices The biggest domestic risks to the stability of the Finnish financial system relate to the trends in indebtedness and the real economy and are therefore linked to the risks from the international operating environment. Risk premia Indebtedness December 9 September March Outlying values illustrate greater risks. Sources: NASDAQ OMX Helsinki, banks, Statistics Finland and Bank of Finland. % of disposable income % of disposable income Household indebtedness and interest burden in Finland. Loan stock (left-hand scale). Share of housing corporations loan stock (left-hand scale). Interest expenditure (right-hand scale) Sources: Statistics Finland and Bank of Finland calculations. Low interest rates and households confidence in their own finances have maintained household credit demand despite the uncertainty over the general trend in the economy.

4 Financial stability Bank of Finland Bulletin Condensed summary The number and relative significance of households that are heavily indebted relative to their income have grown continuously since the turn of the millennium. Finnish households with debt ratios* in excess of 5%. Proportion of households with debt (left-hand scale). Proportion of total household debt (left-hand scale). Average debt (right-hand scale) % EUR, thousands *Debt, % of disposable monetary income. Sources: Statistics Finland and Bank of Finland calculations. Indebtedness in the corporate sector has remained unchanged in recent years, and the significance of domestic financial institutions as the most important source of external finance has continued. Finnish corporate sector s interest-bearing debt structure. Loans from MFIs 5. Loans from other. Overseas loans public-sector entities (excl. direct investment). Short-term debt securities. Loans from OFIs 7. Long-term debt securities. Loans from employee. Debt relative to GDP pension companies (right-hand scale) EUR billion % of annual GDP Sources: Statistics Finland and Bank of Finland.

5 Condensed summary Financial stability Bank of Finland Bulletin Profitability and capital adequacy of Finnish deposit banks. Return on equity (ROE). Capital adequacy ratio. Equity ratio (equity to balance sheet ratio) % The profitability and risk-bearing capacity of Finnish banks have remained good overall, albeit the equity ratio has declined, partly due to strong growth in balance sheets as a consequence of structural changes. 7 9 Source: Bank of Finland. Finnish banking groups covered bonds. Amount outstanding. Issues EUR billion * * For, amount outstanding at the end of February and issues in January-February. Sources: Bank of Finland, European Covered Bonds Council and Bloomberg. Banks access to market-based funding (such as through the issue of covered bonds) has remained adequate, but the continuation of a financial structure with a range of funding options is also important.

6 Financial stability Bank of Finland Bulletin Condensed summary Banks loan losses have declined, but the number of bankruptcies and the levels of nonperforming assets have remained larger than before the crisis, anticipating future credit risk. Bankruptcies, nonperforming assets and net impairment losses in Finland. Corporate bankruptcies filed, -month moving total (left-hand scale). Banks nonperforming assets (right-hand scale). Banks net impairment losses, -month moving total (right-hand scale) Number, 7 5 EUR bn Sources: Statistics Finland, Financial Supervisory Authority and Bank of Finland calculations. The Finnish banking system is highly concentrated and vulnerable to contagion risks: the largest banks stand out clearly from the rest in terms of their total assets. Nordea Bank Finland OP-Pohjola Group Banks assets relative to GDP % 5 Sampo Bank Aktia Bank Bank of Åland 5 5 Sources: Banks annual reports and Statistics Finland.

7 Condensed summary Financial stability Bank of Finland Bulletin Calculation of banks importance from the perspective of systemic risk Substitutability Size Cross-jurisdictional activity The systemic importance of individual banks depends, in addition to their size, on many other factors and on the special features of the national financial system. Interconnectedness Complexity Nordea Bank Finland OP-Pohjola Group Sampo Bank Aktia Bank Bank of Åland Sources: Banks interim reports and Bank of Finland.. Human error. System error. Data communication failure. Software failure 5. Hardware failure. External disruption 7. Database error. Other Number, latest observation 7 April Payment transfer disruptions in Finland 7 5 The rapid internationalisation of infrastructures of critical importance to Finland s financial system such as payment systems underlines the importance of change and risk management in securing highquality services. / / 5/ 7/ 9/ / / / Source: Financial Supervisory Authority.

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