REPORT ON THE RESULTS OF THE BANK LENDING SURVEY Q1 2015

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1 REPORT ON THE RESULTS OF THE BANK LENDING SURVEY Q Belgrade, May 2015

2 Introductory note The National Bank of Serbia (NBS) launched the bank lending survey in 2014 with the aim of conducting a better analysis of developments in the credit market by gaining insight into banks perspective on actual and expected changes in bank loan supply and private sector loan demand. The survey consists of ten questions relating to lending to enterprises and households. Respondents are asked about changes in credit standards 1, factors affecting credit standards, changes in terms and conditions for loan approval, changes in loan demand and factors affecting loan demand. This Report presents the results of the bank lending survey carried out between 1 and 15 April The results reported relate to changes during the first quarter of 2015 and expectations of changes regarding credit market in the second quarter of Of the 29 banks operating in the Serbian market, 27 participated in the survey. This ensured almost full coverage of the credit market since these banks account for 99% of the banking sector assets. The results are presented in terms of net percentages. As regards credit standards and conditions (loan supply), net percentage is defined as the difference between the sum of the percentages of banks responding tightened considerably and tightened somewhat and the sum of the percentages of banks responding eased considerably and eased somewhat. Positive value of the net percentage indicates net tightening, and negative net easing of credit standards and conditions. As regards the factors affecting credit standards/terms, net percentage is defined as the difference between the percentage of banks responding that a given factor contributed to the tightening of credit standards/terms and the percentage of banks responding that the same factor contributed to their easing. As regards demand for loans, net percentage is defined as the difference between the sum of the percentages of banks responding that the demand increased considerably and increased somewhat and the sum of the percentages of banks responding that it decreased considerably and decreased somewhat. Hence, positive value of the net percentage indicates a net increase and negative a net decrease of demand. 1 Credit standards are written and unwritten internal guidelines or criteria reflecting a bank s credit policy (e.g. preferences in terms of credit type, collateral, sector, region, etc). ii

3 C O N T E N T S OVERVIEW... 4 Loans to enterprises... 5 Loans to households... 8 iii

4 OVERVIEW The number of banks with negative perception of economic prospects fell in Q1 as did the number of banks facing non-performing loans, so credit standards remained unchanged relative to a quarter earlier. Although costs of funding have not been lowered for the first time since the beginning of 2014, banks reduced interest margins due to a fall in demand for loans to enterprises. Banks expect no significant changes in credit standards in Q2 and believe that interest margins for loans to enterprises will not change either. Loan demand is expected to recover primarily because of enterprises need to invest in working capital. In the course of the first quarter, a small number of banks eased credit standards for household loans, but solely for those denominated in dinars, whilst standards for FX loans have remained the same. Similar to their actions regarding the enterprise sector, the majority of banks reduced interest margins for dinar and FX loans to households. Although an increasing number of banks believe that wages and employment give negative contribution to lending, banks maintain that household demand stayed flat in Q1. They also expect further easing of credit standards in Q2. As regards household demand, banks have expressed positive expectations, given that demand for dinar cash and housing loans is expected to rise.

5 Loans to enterprises Q1 saw no change in credit standards, unlike in the previous year when they were tightened in each succeeding quarter. It is evident that credit standards for short-term loans were eased, more so for dinar than for FX loans. Banks with smaller market share are likely to tighten their credit standards in the second quarter, which will reflect only on large enterprises, as standards relating to small and medium-sized enterprises and farmers will be eased. All factors, save for competition from other banks, worked towards the tightening of standards in Q1. Namely, apart from deteriorating risk perception, which worked toward the tightening of standards in 2014 as well, Q1 recorded an increase in costs of funding. Banks decision not to change credit standards in the first quarter may be explained by the decreasing number of banks with negative perception of economic prospects and fewer banks facing non-performing loans. 5

6 Bank interest margins went down in Q1, which means that higher costs of loan funding did not feed into lending rates. Also, Q1 saw a decrease in fees and commissions of few banks, while maximum loan maturity was extended. Other terms pertaining to loan amount and collateral requirements tightened in Q1, though in fewer banks than in previous surveys. Interest margins are not expected to decline further in Q2, neither for dinar nor for FX loans. Maximum loan maturity will increase, while other terms might tighten for FX loans. 6

7 According to banks estimate, enterprise loan demand decreased, more pronouncedly for FX than for dinar loans. Factors depressing the demand were capital investment financing and takeovers/acquisitions. The need for current assets financing and restructuring of existing debt stimulated loan demand, though to a lesser extent than in the previous quarter. Nevertheless, demand is expected to recover in Q2, evenly across all segments of lending to enterprises. 7

8 Loans to households Q1 saw a relaxation of credit standards, though only for dinar loans, while there was no change in terms of FX loans. Banks expect further easing of credit standards for dinar loans to households in Q2. Factors working behind this easing were a competition between banks and their readiness to take risk. On the other hand, similarly to enterprise loans, banks risk perception deteriorated, while the costs of loan funding had a neutral effect on credit standards. Banks estimate that tightening of standards in Q2 will be generated solely by NPLs, since for the first time in a while banks expressed no pessimism regarding the overall economic activity and prospects in the real estate market. 8

9 The costs of dinar loans to households went down in Q1 owing to a decrease in interest margins and fees and commissions, while only interest margins edged down in case of FX loans. Other underwriting terms for dinar loans remained mainly unchanged in Q1, while FX loans saw stricter terms in respect of collateral/mortgage value and maximum maturity. Banks expect further shrinking of interest margins in Q2, though coupled with the tightening of other terms for FX loans. 9

10 Banks reported no change in household loan demand in Q1. However, there were some differences in opinion, with the perceived shrinking of demand predominantly associated with particular loan types. Factors depressing the demand mostly concerned the labour market since for the fourth consecutive quarter there was a growing share of banks reporting that wages and employment negatively affected loan demand. anksexpect to see loan demand back on track in Q2, both within the segment of dinar cash loans and housing loans. Banks expect to see loan demand back on track in Q2, both within the segment of dinar cash loans and housing loans. 10

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