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Central Bank Detects Signs of Improvement in Banking Sector

Ljubljana, 11 March (STA) - The governing board of the Slovenian central bank said Tuesday it had detected signs of improvement in the banking sector in January after years of bleak news, as household deposits ticked up and the decline in non-bank lending slowed down.

Bank total assets rose by EUR 186m in January after several months of decline, mostly on account of an across-the-board increase in deposits.

Household deposits thus rose EUR 140m, which the central bank sees as a sign of renewed confidence in the bank sector following the December bailout of three banks.

Banks also continue to deleverage, while loans to the non-bank sector dropped only marginally.

At the same time, interest on deposits continued to drop, making for a cumulative decline of 0.7 percentage points since September 2013.

"We expect that the drop in passive interest rates will allow for the subsequent gradual decrease of active interest rates," the central bank said.

High interest on loans has been one of the main complaints by businesses, which are still having trouble securing financing.

Another positive metric is the share of loans non-performing for over 90 days, which dropped by five percentage points to 13.4% as a result of the bailout and by another 0.2 points in January.

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